Legendary American football personality Herman Edwards used his opening keynote at the National Demolition Association’s annual convention to compare the unsung heroes of the industry to their counterparts in the sport.

The former coach and head coach turned television analyst told delegates at the Demolition 2017 event in Las Vegas that their companies were teams just like the footballers he had been in charge of, and that they would be judged on the job site just as his teams were on the field.

Referring in particular to centres – the team members whose job on the surface appears to consist of little other than passing to the ball to the quarterback and receiving crunching tackles from the opposition – he said that every demolition firm “has a centre in its team”.

He added: “Centres do a lot of work and catch a lot of grief, but they just want to get the job done. As a company, you need people who will commit to the job without knowing the final result. You need to know your personnel and know their strengths and weaknesses.”

In a passionate and at times moving presentation, Herman alluded to one of his early games as head coach of the New York Jets, in 2001. Having lost his first game, the build up to the second was affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The next day, he took a vote among the players whether they wanted to fulfil the fixture, with a majority not wishing to play. He then relayed the decision to the NFL, fearing it would cause problems for the team, only for the league to follow suit and cancel the entire programme of matches.

“Leadership is about service,” said Herman.

“The team doesn’t serve you – it’s you who serves them. When you make a decision, you don’t know the outcome, but when you make a right decision it always works. And that decision was about something bigger than football. It was about my core beliefs.”

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