The ingredients are simple: Take one talented young athlete. Add one agent, one team owner, dozens of family members not heard from in decades, a few dashes of self-entitlement, several bushels of undisciplined spending habits, one unscrupulous financial advisor, a couple of shakes of bad business investments, and a handful of injuries. Yield: One post-NFL broke athlete.
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On August 26th, I drove over two hours in my 14-year old car with over 240,000 miles on it (yes, it’s a Honda) on my almost-yearly trek, to attend my beloved Dallas Cowboys training camp at River Ridge Field in Oxnard, CA. Except for the fans who stay at the Marriott Residence Inn next door, the rest of us park in a half dirt/half mud parking lot that really should only allow dune buggies and 4-wheelers.
We all pay $10.00 for a parking space and while we’re watching our Cowboys train, a big truck maneuvers through the “parking lot,” row by row, to water down the dirt and mud which sprays that same dirt and mud all over the cars and trucks. The water truck does not just give a mere sprinkling; it’s like the force escaping from a fire hydrant. But, it’s all part of the fan experience.
Anyway, for 9:15 a.m. practice, I stood at the 50-yard line, behind the fence that surrounds the entire field. Official-looking city volunteers with official-looking badges manage the crowd and exchange friendly banter. I was amidst hundreds of other fans, some highly annoying in their fan-like behavior. One fan screams over and over at the top of her lungs, “Miles, I love you Miles.” I overheard comments from those around her to the effect of, “maybe she’ll lose her voice…” Oh well, every fan exhibits their affection in their own personal style – she provided some laughs and entertainment along the way. For the most part, Cowboys fans are good-natured, friendly, non-violent fans.
As I watched the 3:15 p.m. practice drills from the end zone, I observed a few lessons we can all take to heart:
According to Wikipedia, “an interception is a very specialized move that occurs when a quarterback’s pass is caught by a player on the opposing team. This leads to an immediate change of possession during the play: the defender who caught the ball immediately assumes the role of the offense and attempts to move the ball as far towards the opposing goal as possible. Following the stoppage of play, if the interceptor retained possession of the ball, their team takes over possession at the spot where he was downed.”
According to Wikipedia, “The Rooney Rule, established in 2003, requires National Football league teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations opportunities. The rule is named for Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chairman of the league’s diversity committee, and indirectly the Rooney family in general, due to the Steelers’ long history of giving African Americans opportunities to serve in team leadership roles. It is often cited as an example of affirmative action.”
Those are the facts in a nutshell. The opinions and results, however, are steeped in controversy and conjecture. Any potential NFL coach is groomed and prepared with years of hands-on training and development, progressing from a supporting role to head coach. Coaches are chosen based on character, commitment, work ethic, leadership and motivational skills, and of course the ability to create winning football teams.
Technology helps us do a lot of things; it saves time, saves lives and is now beginning to save the careers of sports executives. With sports being a multi-billion dollar industry, professional teams, and more specifically scouts are looking for anything that can give them the edge over their opponents.
In years past, the crucifixion of Barry Bonds in the baseball world brought steroid use to the public eye in a powerful way. Is it my imagination or does it seem more of an accepted practice in the world of football?
There are a few not-so-common sports around the world that rarely, if ever, grab our attention. Here are just a few:
Just because a pro player has on-field success does not mean he’ll have automatic off-field business success. He often struggles with identity crisis issues when his name and face doesn’t bring immediate recognition. The NFLPA works hard to provide players and retired players with the tools and resources to be successful during post-football life. The…
Nolan Harrison III played 10 years for the LA/Oakland Raiders, Steelers and the Redskins. He’s now a Vice President with First Midwest Bank’s Trust and Investment Management and a hard-working advocate for the (NFLPA) National Football League Players Association. The NFLPA was originally established by the players for the players in 1956 to help gain the much needed…
(This is a guest article by Michael Coco) We all know that technology plays a major role in sports. If it weren’t for new inventions and innovative ideas half the sports we know of wouldn’t exists. If it weren’t for technology we wouldn’t have the instant replay, the headset for coaches to throw, or even…
Do you ever wonder who is responsible for all the communications between players and coaches on the sideline and in the press box? What about the stadium video board and all of the stadiums sound systems? Tom Kansaro is one of 32 people across the NFL who handles this massive job. Check out his interview…
Super Bowl XLIV is a mere memory now. Faint echoes of “Who Dat” ring in our ears. We’ve seen a Brees blow through and we’ve seen the burning Bush. For fans, the season is over and we’re wondering what to do on Sunday afternoons. We could relive the season by watching games of our favorite…