My guest today is Paraag Marathe, President of Enterprises and Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the San Francisco 49ers. Paraag is in his 20th season with the 49ers, and among a slew of other things, serves as the team’s Chief Contract Negotiator and Salary Cap Architect.
Paraag worked alongside 49ers CEO, Jed York, to recruit and hire current 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan, and General Manager, John Lynch. Off the football field, he oversees any of the 49ers outside business ventures like the recent purchase of a minority ownership stake in the English Championship League soccer team, Leeds United.
In today’s episode, we discuss the current climate of North American sports, what the NFL plans to do to restart the season, what Paraag looks for when he’s hiring someone new, and his thoughts on this year’s NFL draft.
2:30 – 49ers Beginnings. “In 2017, with our owner Jed York, I went out and hired our GM (John Lynch) and Head Coach (Kyle Shanahan) and it’s been a nice 3 to 4 year ride so far.”
4:45 – How to Find an NFL Head Coach. “We ended up interviewing 9 head coach candidates and 10 GM candidates, and what that meant was each candidate’s venn diagram of complimentary candidates was different. So head coach candidate A, based on his personality, might have a different set of GM candidates we thought would be good pairings for him, whereas head coach candidate B, with a different personality and skill set, would have different GM pairing.”
16:00 – Background. “I grew up in Saratoga, CA. I played every sport and I ate sports for breakfast, essentially. I consumed all the sports information that I could.”
25:00 – Change Over the Past 20 Years. “The NFL, along with other sports leagues, has done a much better job of figuring out how to best prepare the athlete for those hours they’re on the field. And that includes all the mental and physical and emotional and spiritual aspects of the job, that were previously sort of taken for granted.”
40:00 – The Next Frontier of Athletic Performance. “The physical difference now between [NFL] players is so small. But what separates guys between being out of the league to becoming Hall of Fame players is what’s inside – what drives them, what motivates them. It’s their maniacal desire to succeed and their maniacal fear of failure that won’t let them fail.”
46:00 – 2020 NFL Draft. “I was skeptical at first, I would have to admit. It ended up going off pretty smoothly. I was impressed.”
53:00 – 2020 NFL Season. “Obviously, the safety of our community is paramount but I remain hopeful that the season will happen.”