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Gang Green Meets Wall Street

To Broaden His Horizons, Jets GM Tannenbaum Shadows Bank Executives; Learning 'Methodology'

By KEVIN CLARK and ROBIN SIDEL

New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum thinks NFL teams are too insulated, too resistant to new ideas and too wedded to routines.

So guess what? He's decided to take a field trip.

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Associated Press Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum

In an unusual move for a top executive of one of the city's professional sports teams, Mr. Tannenbaum has scheduled a visit Friday to the New York headquarters of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the nation's second-largest bank.

Mr. Tannenbaum will meet with chief executive James Dimon and several other senior executives including Mary Erdoes, who runs the bank's wealth-management division, longtime bank dealmaker James B. Lee and Jay Mandelbaum, who is in charge of marketing and strategy.

In an interview this week, Mr. Tannenbaum said the visit is a business trip, not a social call. "I want to see their risk assessment," he said. "When we make a trade, there's certain criteria we have in evaluating it. I want to see theirs." The goal, he added, "is to bring a yellow pad and do a lot of listening and take a copious amount of notes. I'll be doing a lot of listening."

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Bloomberg News J.P. Morgan Chase CEO James Dimon

Mr. Tannenbaum's fact-finding mission is part of a larger initiative he's hatched to help the team's top decision-makers broaden their horizons. On the same day, Jets assistant head coach Bill Callahan will shadow Yankees manager Joe Girardi to see what it's like to operate "in a fishbowl" while other Jets employees will shadow storm chasers, police officers and firefighters to learn about everything from crisis management and organization to "prioritizing things," Mr. Tannenbaum said.

The Jets and J.P. Morgan don't have many obvious similarities. In addition to its large Wall Street operation, the bank has a consumer portfolio that includes credit cards and mortgages. While its executives have been occupied in recent years with acquiring Bear Stearns & Cos. and the banking operations of Washington Mutual Inc., Mr. Tannenbaum has been scouring the college-football ranks for the likes of Nebraska offensive lineman Matt Slauson. While Mr. Dimon has testified to Congress about the credit crisis, Mr. Tannenbaum has spent many hours trying to explain the vagaries of the NFL salary cap to the beat writers.

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Bloomberg News The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where the Jets will play beginning this season.

But in the past decade, NFL teams have grown dramatically in size and complexity. According to a study completed last season by Boston Consulting Group, the typical NFL season requires 514,000 hours of labor per team

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With a lot of expensive contracts facing him, perhaps Trader Mike is second-doubting his draft day strategy of quality over quantity?

It's nice for the fans, but at the end of the day how many superstar players can a team afford to have?

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With a lot of expensive contracts facing him, perhaps Trader Mike is second-doubting his draft day strategy of quality over quantity?

It's nice for the fans, but at the end of the day how many superstar players can a team afford to have?

I've always been a build for the future kinda guy, but I've found myself buying into the way Tannenbaum does things. The man lives in the moment. A player on the roster developing for a year or two down the road isn't going to help the team win today.

When judgement day comes for all these contracts, he'll sign the guys he and Rex want the most. The guys who walk should net the team comp picks in the 3rd round range the following year. Tanny needs to remember how he did it this year so that he can collect that comp pick bounty in the future.

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