‘McBeanes’ have right ‘nose’ for intangibles

Photo of Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott from WKBW.com.

The ability to get an accurate ‘read’ on a person after a short interview is an acquired skill, but it’s also a trait some seem to possess as a natural instinct. I found it enormously helpful as a psychotherapist over the years because many times what a person tells you isn’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of the real issues at hand.

Some of you know from reading my babble how much I value the intangible aspects of professional football, particularly how team chemistry affects performance. I find the entire ‘process’ of how teams are formed and nurtured to be fascinating. And of course it’s no secret how much I admire Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, ‘McBeane’ as I like to call them– while they do their jobs methodically – like cooks tinkering with their recipe for success.

McBeane readily admit they scratch players off their potential acquisition lists based upon what they perceive to be a “bad fit” for the Bills team they envision. What exactly do they mean by “bad fit”? What qualities or behavior are they specifically looking for in players they identify as “their type of guy” who has the “right” qualities?

As we approach the upcoming NFL Combine, it’s just as important for coaches and general managers to be able to glean an accurate first impression of players they may spend little more than 15 minutes with solo during the entire week. This is especially true for Buffalo this year because it’s all but a given they are going to draft a quarterback.

No position is more important to get right in terms of intangibles as the quarterback position. They are more than the face of a franchise, their personalities can set the town for the entire team. Look no further than Jay Cutler as an example how a quarterback can be locker room poison.

So what qualities/traits do McBeane value in their quest to build a championship caliber team?

Sean McDermott already seems to display an unusual ability to immediately sense a person’s spiritual nature, so it makes sense he would be an important part of evaluating a player’s intangible qualities at a place like the NFL Combine.

Photo of Sean McDermott from NewYorkUpstate.com.

In no particular order, the following ‘ingredients’ might be involved in creating the recipe for McBeane’s secret sauce. These are the most likely intangible qualities they are trying to sniff out in players at the NFL Combine:

  • Authenticity – it’s a word some of you reading this have seen me write about (likely too many times already, lol). What does it mean to be authentic? Are you an “authentic person”? Here are seven qualities of authentic people as defined from a recent article in Psychology Today. I would expect McBeane to be highly skilled at identifying players giving them ‘BS’. 
  • Congruence – Are you who you say you are? Does what you portray to the rest of the world reflect the same balance of characteristics as who you are in your inner world? Here’s a great article from exploringyourmind.com about the principle of congruence and how it relates to assessing personality.
  • Kindness/Compassion – This may seem like a strange quality to value at such a high level in a football player but the McBeanes appear to place a high priority on identifying players who demonstrate with more than just words their desire to participate in projects that promote the well being of the community around them. They understand the ability to form empathic relationships with others is something narcissistic people are incapable of by definition – and pathologic narcissism is a trait McDermott (especially) appears to abhor in players. 
  • Personal integrity – This is a foundational quality to which the rest of your personality emanates. Do you “do the right thing” regardless if anyone is watching? Here’s a great 2012 article by Amy Rees Anderson on why personal integrity is one of the most important qualities we can develop to be successful in life.

It’s been since Marv Levy and Bill Polian roamed the halls together at One Bills Drive since I’ve felt as comfortable with a coach and general manager as far as their ability to accurately size up players’ intangibles. McBeane have already demonstrated their uncanny ability to turn leftovers into a Buffalo Soup-fest Blue Ribbon winner in little over a year.

Editor’s babble: Thanks for riding along with me on another trail of psychobabble. If that wasn’t enough to nauseate you, I’m also on twitter @RobynMundyWYO. 

*Views expressed on the blog are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of ownership of the billsmafia.com website.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

12 Replies to “‘McBeanes’ have right ‘nose’ for intangibles”

  1. I agree Robin, Beansy and McD know what they are looking for and can sense Me-Me player immediately. Hopefully, that will translate into building a SB competitive team.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Robyn about those qualities that go beyond the obvious physical ones. Working with students for four decades, both in and out of the classroom I definitely agree with your assessment of those other “necessaries” that can make for success or failure. Here are seven things I stressed with my students:
    1. You need a right goal; what is yours?
    2. Your need to prepare; don’t neglect your education.
    3. You need good health; strive to maintain it diligently.
    4. You need DRIVE; are you determined to succeed?
    5. You need resourcefulness; find a way around obstacles.
    6. You need perseverance; NEVER, NEVER, GIVE UP!
    7. Most important – develop your spiritual side – God Matters
    While I cannot know where “McBeane” stands in regard to #7 I have to think that is an important part of the mix for them, too. In any case I like you, are greatly heartened and encouraged by what I saw this last year and hope another “Jim Kelly” type comes our way. In spite of some of Mr. “OU’s” antics I sense special leadership qualities in him that like Mr. Kelly, make others willing to follow him to h**l and back and I’d would be very happy to see him in Buffalo gear next year.

    • Hi Herb!

      First of all, THANK YOU for your comments here. We’re trying to get more folks to interact on our blog and develop civilized conversation away from social media sites, so please keep your comments coming :)

      Couldn’t agree more with your post and grateful for teachers like yourself who take the extra time to help guide students to a successful LIFE!

      Here’s hoping “McBeane” continue to bring the type of players who aspire as much to become a good person as they do a good football player or whatever they choose in life!

      Thanks again, and look forward to your commentary here!


  3. It appears McBeane are looking for the “team first” type of players that are unselfish and will do whatever it takes to make the team successful, along with that player being durable. It appears McBeane are doing away with the “me first” type of players (such as Dareus).

    I think everyone can agree that the Bills overachieved in 2017. If adopting the “team first” type of mentality had a big part in that overachievement, then that’s a great start to the McBeane era. If they [McBeane] is finally able to draft that long awaited for franchise QB, to go along with the type of “team first” type of players they’ve been going after, we might see the Bills finally become a perennial contender vice what we’ve went through the past 17 years.

    • Hi Steve!

      McBeane seem to have a clear vision of what they’re trying to build and appear to be on the same page. That’s such a plus… something I think some fans might overlook as being an important reason why they have a better chance of succeeding than recent predecessors.

      I write these babble articles because it’s not always easy to tease out priorities placed on intangibles. It’s important to remember ‘McBeane’ values certain personality types enough to base their entire draft board leaving out players with excess baggage.

      This makes predicting their draft picks a little more complicated than a coach/GM who doesn’t place high value on character related issues.

      Have a great day and thanks for your insightful commentary!


  4. Sounds good in theory, Steve, but I need to see more before buying into it being something more than an anomaly. I agree the Bills overachieved, but how much that has to do with a new attitude and team first concept versus…I dunno, dumb luck…and whether it’s sustainable remains to be seen. I think the Bills were more lucky than anything last year. The AFC was terrible and the Bills had a record pace amount of turnovers the first half of the year. Jauron had a 13-3 season once largely based on luck and a ton of turnovers. I’m not sure he had another season over .500 after that. I’m not trying to suggest these guys might be as bad as Jauron, but I don’t trust they can consistently do more with less. It’s encouraging that they did, but I don’t think we can count on them to regularly overachieve.

    • Joma,

      We all know the difference a good QB can make. I think we can all agree that Tyrod is around a .500 type QB. If the Bills have to stay put with Tyrod for another season, then I can expect another 8-8/9-7 season. Bit, if the Bills are able to draft a potentially elite QB, then that could change the landscape for the Bills. I get what you’re saying, Jauron had one lucky season in Chicago and the Bills defense did create a lot of turnovers in the early part of the season. But how many times in the past did we see this team blow a lead and lose the game in the final minutes (sometimes seconds). We didn’t see that from the 2017 Bills, so to me, that’s a good sign about McBeane. I’m not anointing McBeane just yet, but I liked what I saw from them a whole lot better than previous Bills regimes.

  5. Agreed. Whether they can land the QB is the big question…and even if they do, I don’t necessarily expect big things this upcoming year considering IF they land one of the top 3 QBs, they’re going to give up a lot to do so (in theory 2, 3, 4 starters)…so they probably won’t be handing over a stacked team to the rookie, if they start him at all. I’m also of the opinion they need to improve a good amount just to match their record from last year. If somehow they can land one of the top 3 QBs AND keep their first round pick next year, I will be highly impressed as I think their pick next year might be top a top 10 selection. If they don’t get one of those top 3 guys, they better not deal away that pick.

    • Agreed. I don’t mind if they have to use both 1’s and a 2 this year, but I’d rather see the Bills add a player such as Cordy Glenn to the deal vice give up the first round pick in 2019.