Tim Brown: Diversify Your Backfield with AXP

It pays to spread your risk.
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In today's NFL, many teams have dealt with the running back position by committee approach, or at the very least, are spreading the carries out more among different backs.

All it takes is a quick glance at any number of teams to see how that approach is becoming a staple. Jacksonville has both Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. Atlanta has newly-acquired Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, while Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams are likely to share time in Carolina. In Denver, Selvin Young and Ryan Torain are both likely to see significant carries, while in New Orleans both Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister are sure to see plenty of time.

Often, the backs complement each other. One can be a bruiser and take the ball at the goal line and plow in for a touchdown while the other is more durable or more of a finesse back. That's not always true, but you get the idea.

There are many reasons teams are moving to this system. First, they are able to keep their backs fresher for the end of the game and keep their legs stronger for the tail end of the season. They are able to give their offense different looks and add more weapons to their offense. They are able to keep a healthy competition going among the runners.

And, probably most importantly, they are able to manage their risk. By having multiple backs game-tested and ready, they are able to better manage if one of their backs is injured. In the NFL, injuries are a part of the game and a fact of life. Those players who don't go down to serious injury surely have nagging aches and pains or even mild injuries that they are playing through.

Having a diversified backfield and spreading the risk among several different players (who are investments by the team's ownership) is a smart way to go.

This is another example of lessons from the gridiron that apply to investing. Diversifying a portfolio and keeping top-notch stocks with different strengths on your team is a must for any investor. It helps protect you if any one of your stocks takes an unexpected hit.

Today, I have a company that I think will be a great addition to any portfolio.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

is a great company that has been absolutely pummeled lately. It is trading just a hair above its 52-week low of $39.50. In late morning trading it was below $41. It lost a third of its value in the last year.

I think this company is a great long play.

"Keep moving the chains!"

At the time of publication, Brown had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tim Brown played 16 seasons in the NFL, where he made nine Pro Bowls. After a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, Brown retired as an Oakland Raider. He was a Heisman Trophy winner in college for Notre Dame.