Sat. Sep 22nd, 2018

The Past is the Bleepin’ Past

BALL is BACK!

It’s such a fantastic feeling to be able to watch mass amounts of football again. I’m convinced that food tastes better, life is happier, and my sentences make more sense during football season. Week 1 of the 2018 NFL campaign is in the books. It produced plenty of compelling storylines and memorable performances.

Aaron Rodgers was simply remarkable while dicing up the Bears on one good leg. Tom Brady showed that he’s still Tom Brady against the Texans. Some of the rookies were impressive as well. Giants running back Saquon Barkley had a special 68-yard touchdown run against the Jaguars. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold rebounded nicely from an interception on his very first NFL pass to complete 16 of 21 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions.

There were major disappointments as well. The Jimmy Garoppolo bandwagon — that was absolutely overflowing — lost some members after the 49ers quarterback threw three interceptions against the Vikings. The Saints gave up 48 points in a home loss to the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buccaneers. Oh, and the Chargers Super Bowl quest didn’t exactly start off in grand fashion either.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers shared a very interesting thought after being on the wrong end of a 38-28 win by the Chiefs. “I compare an NFL season to the Tour de France,” Rivers said. “It’s all those stages. That’s what the NFL season is to me. There’s 16 stages and you dang sure better win your fair share of ‘em, but it’s a long deal.”

I love this thought by Rivers. It’s a different way of saying that an NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. The same can be said about sports radio — it’s a marathon. Consistency is what ultimately wins in this business. Not one outstanding performance. Not one great fall book. It’s years of bringing it every day. Winning one stage of the Tour de France and then mailing it in wouldn’t get you anywhere. Neither will the equivalent in sports radio.

There are many people in sports talk that work incredibly hard to reach a certain level of success. Once their goals are realized, that fire doesn’t burn the same way. They get comfortable to a fault and start going through the motions. The drive that paved the way to their success is lacking. It’s a horrible habit that is hard to undo — like falling into a well without a way to climb out.

A poor mindset can lead to poor results. I’ve always disagreed with something Peyton Manning said during a press conference way back in May of 2012. While making an announcement that the Colts had decided to release him, Peyton was asked if he felt like he still had something to prove. Peyton responded by saying, “I don’t want to retire. And no, I don’t feel like I have anything to prove.”

You don’t have anything to prove? Huh? To me, Peyton was saying that he didn’t need to prove he was a great quarterback going forward — that he had already proven so. I’m not in favor of this mindset at all. I believe that no matter what has been accomplished in the past, it doesn’t matter one bit as far as today is concerned. There is constantly an additional challenge and another hurdle to jump over.

The Philadelphia Eagles added a sign to their locker room that said “Super Bowl LII Champions.” It wasn’t welcomed by safety Malcolm Jenkins. “I hate it, personally,” Jenkins said. “I’m well beyond celebrating last year’s accomplishments because they don’t mean anything this year. They don’t get us anything.” The Eagles reconsidered and took the sign down.

The mindset of Jenkins makes perfect sense to me. Focusing on the present instead of the past is a winning approach. The minute you start daydreaming about past achievements, is the minute success starts to become a thing of the past. There are many people that enjoy triumphs so much that they start to lose the focus that made them successful in the first place. 

Boxing and music are a few of the many examples where this takes place. There have been many fighters that came from having nothing. They worked tirelessly to make their dreams come true and have a better life. Once they enjoyed success and earned big paydays, they didn’t have the same energy and hunger.

It happens with musicians too. You can literally hear albums when a band or artist was starving for success and poured all of their energy in to the music. It’s easy to hear the opposite when those same entertainers become unmotivated and lazy. Their performances slipped because their passion wasn’t the same.

Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan once gave a pregame speech leading up to the 2007 NFC Championship Game against the Packers. “All you hear about is the past, the past. The Packers this. The Packers that. Brett Favre this. Brett Favre that. The past is the [bleepin’] past.” He explained his message on NFL Network’s “America’s Game.” Strahan said, “That pregame speech was my favorite because we make our own history now. The past is dead.”

I would hug this thought if I could. Man, that is it!

The past is dead — let that concept wash over you for a minute. It’s a spectacular guide to either chase the success you’ve yet to enjoy, or to handle the success that you’re currently enjoying. If you’re still striving to reach your goals, history doesn’t dictate whether you make it happen or not — you do. If your goals have been met, the key is to never lose that fire no matter what you accomplish.

Starving artists rock the hardest. The trick is to behave as if you’re starving even if you aren’t. Imagine if Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold got content after enjoying some early success and didn’t work as hard. You’d be critical of them. Have the same standards for yourself. Don’t rest on your achievements. Behave as if you don’t have any.