Rice: Think beyond short-term gains

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
It took a few days, but we're back with the second part of our post on Condoleezza Rice's talk at the NFL owners' meeting last Sunday. One of her messages was particularly applicable during draft season.

Rice urged owners and other team officials to "have a sense of history's long arc." In other words, she said, it's helpful to remember that instant reaction to decisions aren't always reconcilable with the way history ultimately metes out judgment. A choice made for short-term consequences won't always prove the wisest over time.

"If you're always chasing the day's headlines," Rice said, "you won't always do the right thing. Or, at least, you won't do the difficult thing."

The message applied during Rice's diplomatic career and in creating foreign policy, but it also is another way of looking at all sorts of decisions that NFL general managers and coaches make each day. Should you draft the player who is ready to contribute right away, or take the one with less refinement but higher upside? Do you impact your salary cap by paying a veteran large sums of money? Or do you spread the wealth on younger players who could be part of a longer building process?

Both Rice and NFL employees face similar obstacles: If they devote too much of their attention to the long-term future, they could face the short-term consequence of getting voted out or fired. But ultimately, Rice urged NFL types to ignore the lure of instant gratification and take, well, the road less traveled.