Title:Green Bay Packers director of research and development
Tenure:Hired in the newly created position in March 2001, he's in his 27th season overall in the NFL.
Job description:Manages databases and researches statistical trends for coaches and players.
Professional background:Formerly held the same position with the Minnesota Vikings for 16 years. Also coached, first in Winnebago, Minn., then as an assistant at South Dakota, UW-La Crosse, Mankato State and Luther College.
Education:Bachelor's degrees in social studies and physical education from Augsburg; master's degree in physical education from South Dakota; education doctorate in physical education and recreation management from Oregon.
Green Bay- It was the middle of training camp and the Green Bay Packers were starting to ache. Even with Mike McCarthy's player-friendly schedule, deep fatigue had set in from long practices and longer meetings. But the lockout meant the Packers needed to keep working. McCarthy turned to a little-known, in-house expert for help.
Mike Eayrs stood in front of the weary players and talked about people who had survived shipwrecks.
"And the amazing thing was it was rarely the most physically fit people who survived," Eayrs told them. "Mental toughness was much more important than physical condition in terms of shipwreck survival.
"And the will to survive and the will to succeed are very close."
This information was derived from a study out of England that led to the creation of Outward Bound. But all Eayrs needed was a message for the battling Packers: Keep fighting.
Months later, McCarthy and his coaching staff get credit for leading the Packers to an 11-0 record. Aaron Rodgers is thanked for an unstoppable offense. Caps are tipped to Ted Thompson for assembling this crew.
So little is known or acknowledged about Eayrs, who spends hours in his office, sometimes losing all track of time, diving into the Internet, or the "global village" as he calls it, hunting for information to help the Packers gain any advantage whatsoever.
With a scientific approach to his favorite search engine, Google, and other methods of study, Eayrs unearths worldly experiences and passes them on to the Packers to help them strategically, mentally and emotionally.
"He finds stats I didn't know existed," said guard Josh Sitton. "I'm always, how did he come up with that?"
"I pull out my notebook and take notes," said punter Tim Masthay.
True, Eayrs is a stat guy first. His title is director of research and development, and every week he preaches the importance of turnovers.
"If we win the turnover battle, I think we've won something like 90% of the games under McCarthy," said defensive lineman Ryan Pickett. "He always gives us reminders like that."
But he goes much deeper. For instance, Eayrs tracks the referees and their calls. Even though they're probably all similar, he knows which crew might be more lenient with what they'll allow and which crew likes flag football now and then.
"He'll say this crew has more pass interference calls than any in the league, so don't be as physical," said backup quarterback Graham Harrell. "Or this team calls more holding calls - so let's try to play clean up front. Or this team calls more fourth-quarter penalties.
"Guys really do listen and take it to heart. It might kind of give us a slight advantage."
The business model
Some examples have nothing to do with football. McCarthy loves business world lessons for his Super Bowl champs, but really, it goes back. Eayrs distinctly remembers the first meeting McCarthy ever had with the Packers when he was hired as coach in 2006.
"He told the guys - and I think he shocked all of us - when he said the biggest problem that we would face, as an organization, was handling success," Eayrs said.
"So we've done a series of power points on success. Shortly after the Super Bowl, he said we need to look at long-term success. People and organizations that had achieved success over a long period of time.
"You might accidentally back into it once - well, seriously, history is full of that - but the real pattern of greatness is the repeat performers."
So as Green Bay makes this winning thing a habit, Eayrs tells the team about businesses and their leaders, with a clear link to the Packers and how they should go forward.
"There are leaders getting complacent, thinking they were the head honcho, and then their businesses went down," said receiver Jordy Nelson. "Compared to leaders who were humble and continued to grind every week. That's kind of the situation we're in. As confident as we are, we're going to continue to grind."
After the Packers beat Minnesota on Monday night, Charlie Peprah could be overheard telling Jarrett Bush that he was worried about doom loops. Had to fix them.
Doom . . . loops? We've heard of Tampa-2 and elephant ends and three techniques and zero blitzes, but doom loops?
Peprah laughed. He said he had a mental error during the game and then one more. He did not want to fall into a doom loop, something Eayrs introduced to the team.
"Organizations get into cycles where things keep getting worse and worse because mentally - the best way to describe it - they've got a complete attitude of pessimism," Eayrs said.
So Peprah bowed his head to Lambeau Field and tuned everything out. The crowd, cleats of his teammates shuffling around him, the bright lights of a big game, and took a 15-second metal vacation.
"Cleared my mind," Peprah said. "And that was it."
The 15-second mental vacation - another Eayrs suggestion - is a tool to replace the bad thoughts with good ones.
"When things are starting to go wrong, and you don't feel like going out there, he gave us a way to get things positive," Bush said.
"As the season goes on, sometimes you can get in a rut and you can have mental lapses and lose focus. Or mental fatigue," Peprah said. "So little things like mental vacations, he tells us to bring it back to focus."
That also ties in to something Eayrs is big on - positive mental imagery. He made the Super Bowl insignia into a giant billboard for the meeting room so "every time we come to a team meeting, that's what we look at," Bush said.
"We get guys to visualize themselves being successful," Eayrs said. "And one of the greatest things for an NFL team is to visualize yourself in the Super Bowl."
Last week, in conjunction with the plummeting temperatures, Eayrs borrowed from the Army playbook on tackling cold weather. Two layers of everything, especially socks; one for soaking up the sweat, another for keeping in the warmth. And don't forget staying hydrated.
"It was all about how to prepare and to maximize your performance in the cold weather," Masthay said. "It is always really applicable stuff. He uses a lot of stats, but there's always a focus and purpose to it; it's not just feedback for feedback's sake."
Eayrs also goes for the comic relief and predicts Green Bay weather.
"He says it will either snow or it won't," Nelson said. "I'm like, obviously!"
So can you call this a fair trade? While the Minnesota Vikings got a couple of former Packers in the last decade, Green Bay hired Eayrs from Minnesota in 2001 after he had spent 16 seasons with the Vikings.
He's ridiculously humble, crediting McCarthy for coming up with the different themes every week and saying this about his tireless research: "Virtually anybody could have done what I did."
Hardly. The quality of his work reflects the time he puts it. But Eayrs also learned the key to using the correct terms in his searches. Typing in "focus" wasn't enough unless you wanted about 100 pages on the car made by Ford.
"If you just put in 'discipline,' holy smokes . . . " Eayrs said.
He found the shipwreck study by looking up "survival" and "mental toughness" until he raced around the Internet's corn maze to find the study that was perfect for his Packers.
In giving these presentations, Eayrs adopted a simple rule from one of his favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote "The Tipping Point."
"He talks in the book about a metaphor that he developed based on the show 'Sesame Street,' " Eayrs said.
Of all the children's shows on TV, what made that one successful?
" 'Sesame Street' followed one golden rule with every sketch: The core of the sketch has to have a catchphrase. Writers talked about making it stick so you would remember.
"All I really am is a guy that gathers information and presents it. I just try to make sure it's very valid information, very reliable information. I learned that importance from Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard from the 'One Minute Manager' series way back in the '80s. They talked about dealing within the realm of fact. Especially undisputed fact. So I want the presentations to contain factual information that will hopefully be interesting."
The Packers have appreciated it.
"I do really enjoy his talks," kicker Mason Crosby said. "I love all the numbers he throws out there; it's always something new and interesting. And when you're winning, the numbers, the statistics, stay true. All the stats he throws out there, it's like, yeah, that makes sense."
The Servant- James C. Hunter Good To Great-Jim Collins How the Mighty Fall- Jim Collins Built To Last- Jim Collins Me 2.0- Dan Schawbel Court Sense- John Giannini The Energy Bus- Jon Gordon Training Camp- Jon Gordon Blink-Malcolm Gladwell Outliers-Malcolm Gladwell The Tipping Point- Malcolm Gladwell Power of Who-Bob Beaudine Playing For Coach Meyer- Steve Smiley Rebound Rules- Rick Pitino The Five Temptaitions Of A CEO-Patrick Lencioni The Four Obsessions of An Extraordinary Executive- Patrick Lencioni The Five Dysfunctions of a Team-Patrick Lencioni Daly Life- Chuck Daly The Carolina Way- Dean Smith The Gold Standard-Coach K Beyond Basketball-Coach K Meat Market-Bruce Feldman Urbans Way-Buddy Martin The Man Watching - Anson Dorrance Miracle of St. Anthony Quiet Strength- Tony Dungy The Art of War- Sun Tzu Smart Take from the Strong- Pete Carril