Bob Kronenberg regional scout - midwest

By Matthew Tabeek

"Brotherhood started as a word; all that followed was action."

Bob Kronenberg has played, coached and scouted a lot of football ranging across a variety of levels in his life. From the National Football League, Arena Football League, Canadian Football League and NFL Europe to all levels of college football – he’ll tell you he’s seen it all.

But nothing, he says, is quite like what he’s experienced in Atlanta, especially during the last couple of seasons with Falcons coach Dan Quinn. Kronenberg tries to find the words to describe why it’s different and what this Brotherhood that Quinn introduced means – and then quickly recalls a phone conversation he had while out on the road scouting.

“I look down and I see Q’s number. This is right when he got here and I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, what did I do wrong? My head coach is calling me – holy crap. I must’ve screwed something up,’” Kronenberg said. Then he gives a brief description of the conversation.

Hey, Coach!

‘Hey, Kroney! What are you doing?

Uh, I’m driving and –

‘Where you at? Who you looking at? No, wait, tell me about this guy.

He’s this, this and that …

‘Man, that sounds great. Keep in touch with me. Text me. I’ll be texting you. Drive safe. Can’t wait to see you …’

“You hang up the phone and say to yourself, ‘Are you kidding me?’ This is so unique to take a genuine interest in you personally,” Kronenberg said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. And it kept happening ... and now it’s to the point where it’s become the norm.”

Why the Brotherhood is thriving in Atlanta – and nowhere else

For the last two seasons Kronenberg has been the Falcons’ college scout responsible for every school in the Midwest – a region that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and stops at Huntington, W.Va. Before that he was a pro scout (2012-2016) and a college scout (2009-2011) with the Falcons.

Like most NFL scouts, Kronenberg spends most of his time during the season traveling from one college campus to the next and, because of that, he’ll spend more time with scouts from other NFL teams than he will with his fellow Falcons scouts.

Kronenberg, who also spent seven seasons in the AFL with the Georgia Force as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator prior to joining the Falcons, said other teams are noticing what’s happening in Atlanta. And while some are even trying to emulate what the Falcons are doing, they’re not succeeding because they’re missing a key ingredient.

“I think there are other teams – I’m not saying they use Brotherhood, but whatever it was they have used it – and of course, it fades or isn’t strong or never makes it to what we’ve got now,” Kronenberg said.

“It’s because of Dan. It was a word to start, but then everything that followed was actions. It’s how you treat people. That doesn’t mean we’re all in here holding hands and singing songs. I mean, this is football. You’re going to have disagreements – that’s all part of it and making people better.”

A clear message and good chemistry go a long way

As good as the chemistry is inside the Falcons headquarters at Flowery Branch, Kronenberg still knows that he has to find good football players at the end of the day. And that also means finding the right prospects who’ll thrive within the culture Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have assembled.

The Falcons’ scouts can do that, he said, because they know exactly what kind of player they’re looking for “to a T.”

“They showed us what we’re doing offensively, what we’re doing defensively, what type of player we’re looking for and painted the clearest vision of what they wanted and I’ve never been around anything like that,” Kronenberg said. “It all started with them giving us an absolute picture of what they’re looking for.”

Before long the scouts, coaches and players were in the same meetings rooms – and everyone was slowly getting on the same page. Sure, there were some bumps along the way, Kronenberg said, but Quinn’s willingness to listen and be open-minded makes it work.

“Dan’s program – you can’t just take his program and run somewhere else,” Kronenberg said. “It works because he’s pulling the trigger and him and Thomas – they’ve developed a great relationship, very cohesive. And they both are open-minded: it doesn’t matter how we get there.”

Kronenberg, whose playing career included four seasons in NFL Europe, three years in the CFL, two in the AFL, and training camp appearances with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993) and the Washington Redskins (1998), says he’s never seen anything like what’s happening in Atlanta.

“I’m not 70 years old and have stories to tell you, but as long as I’ve been in this, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

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