Bill Parcells 11 Commandments of Being a Quarterback (or leader in any field)

To jump on yesterday’s Bill Parcells article, here is Parcell’s commandments on what is takes to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. You can easily take this list and translate to any leadership job.

Quarterback commandments:

1. Ignore other opinions – Press or TV, agents or advisors, family or wives, friends or relatives, fans or hangers on – ignore them on matters of football, they don’t know what’s happening here.

(Translation: Don’t take advice from someone who doesn’t understand the job you’re a part of or doing. That’s like an actor getting advice from their father who was an accountant. You can’t give him advice and he can’t give you advice.)

2. Clowns can’t run a huddle – don’t forget to have fun but don’t be the class clown. Clowns and leaders don’t mix. Clowns can’t run a huddle.

(Translation: Act so people respect you. No one ever looked up to the funny kid in grade school, no matter how funny he was)

3. Fat QBs can’t avoid the rush – A quarterback throws with his legs more than his arm. Squat and run.

(Translation: Make sure you don’t look like a slob.)

4. Know your job cold – this is not a game without errors. Keep yours to a minimum. Study.

(Translation: Discpline and hard work = success. Don’t be lazy.)

5. Know your own players – Who’s fast? Who can catch? Who needs encouragement? Be precise. Know your opponent.

(Translation: Understand everyone’s job, plus your own. Sign of a true leader.)

6. Be the same guy every day – in condition. Preparing to lead. Studying your plan. A coach can’t prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself and remember, impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.

(Translation: Don’t be inconsistant. No one respects someone who is up one day and down the next.)

7. Throwing the ball away is a good play – sacks, interceptions and fumbles are bad plays. Protect against those.

(Translation: Know when to take chances. You risk too much and you lose.)

8. Learn to manage the game – personnel, play call, motions, ball handling, proper reads, accurate throws, play fakes. Clock. Clock. Clock. Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.

(Translation: Whatever road you choose to journey down, make sure you know how to get there in the best possible way. Make sure your followers have trust when they walk behind you – or else they are gone!)

9. Get your team in the end zone – passing stats and TD passes are not how you’re going to be judged. Your job is to get your team in the end zone and that is how you will be judged.

(Translation: You better succeed or else what you say or do doesn’t matter.)

10. Don’t panic – when all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have a panic button.

(Translation: You’re going to have good days and bad days. Be the same person on both days and control your emotions.)

11. Don’t be a celebrity QB – we don’t need any of those. We need battlefield commanders that are willing to fight it out, every day, every week and every season and lead their team to win after.

(Translation: Understand why you are doing your job. It needs to always be about the work – not about obtaining fans.)

    * * * * *

Matthew Toffolo

Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes, Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival. He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.

Go to and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.

Go to and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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