Archive for the ‘Quarterbacks’ Category

Using Disrespect for Motivation

December 2, 2009

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog called “Using Disrespect to Motivate Yourself and Prove People Wrong.”

I decided to reprint some of it now.  You see it in sports all the time.  When you’re disrespected it gives you extra incentive to not only prove your doubters wrong, but to beat them if it’s in the sports world, or if outside of the sports world then at least to show them that they made the wrong decision.

You see, you take a personal slight, get upset about it, make it bigger than it is, and then actually relish the fact that someone disrespected you.  It takes on a life of its own – you never, ever forget – and then you do some truly great – even transcendent – things afterwards, partly because of the extra motivation.  You may say that you shouldn’t need that extra motivation, but it is what it is, and you should do whatever works for you.

I was reminded of this lately because of the recent situations involving Michael Jordan and Brett Favre, not to mention countless games in which underdogs beat favorites, and I’ve even had a few situations myself for which the concept applies.

I’ll start with me and then get to the more interesting stuff.

Three years ago I wrote about why I like working with kids with autism under my first FAQ at http://www.coachmike.net/autism-faq.php:

“I’ve always loved sports, and I root for the underdog. Anybody who has played sports or been a sports fan knows that when someone says you can’t do something, you love to prove them wrong. I prefer working with the kids who have the most severe disabilities because I love the challenge. One of the things I like most about working with kids with autism is the amount of progress that they have the potential to make.”

In the past five years, I’ve worked with a lot of children and several adults with autism.  I have never had a situation that didn’t work out well.  But sometimes schedules change. I was working on sports skills with a five-year old child once.  When he started kindergarten he had less free time so I had to stop after about eight months.  Sports was the first thing to get cut because of the “schedule.”  I could have (perhaps should have?) – said that that made sense.  But I took it personally.

I use things like that for extra motivation and can honestly say that the kids who I work with make great progress in all areas.  I believe that with all my heart, and I will do anything to make it so.  I can assure you that any kids who I work with will end up being more successful in all areas (and I usually break the areas down into 1) academics, cognitive skills and communication skills; 2) social skills, playdates, and emotional awareness and management; and 3) sports, exercise, and motors skills).

Anyway, now onto Michael Jordan.  His speech at the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in September was considered controversial because he mentioned several times during which he felt slighted and he used those incidents for extra motivation.  Jordan was famous for that.

In 1993, LaBradford Smith of the Washington Bullets (yes, the Bullets – here’s hoping new owner Ted Leonsis will change the name back and change back to the old red white and blue uniforms too) scored 37 points against Jordan and the Bulls and supposedly said, “Nice game, Mike.”  Jordan vowed to score 37 points against the Bullets the next game by halftime and he scored 36 by the half, 47 in all in just 31 minutes.

Great story, but it never happened.  At least the part about Smith taunting Jordan.

The funny thing is that Jordan admitted later that Smith never taunted him, but he just made the story up to give him extra motivation.  Here are some highlights from the game in which Jordan got his revenge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdDb32m2EsM.

Jordan didn’t mention that incident during his Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but he did mention the following, and I borrow from Brian Mahoney’s article from the Associated Press:

  • The coach who cut him from the varsity as a North Carolina schoolboy.

“I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude.”

  • Isiah Thomas, who allegedly orchestrated a “freezeout” of Jordan in his first All-Star game.

“I wanted to prove to you, Magic (Johnson), Larry (Bird), George (Gervin), everybody that I deserved (to be there) just as much as anybody else, and I hope over the period of my career I’ve done that without a doubt.”

  • Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy – Jordan called him Pat Riley’s “little guy” – who accused Jordan of “conning” players by acting friendly toward them, then attacking them in games.

“I just so happen to be a friendly guy. I get along with everybody, but at the same time, when the light comes on, I’m as competitive as anybody you know.”

  • The media who said Jordan, though a great player, would never win like Bird or Johnson.

“I had to listen to all that, and that put so much wood on that fire that it kept me each and every day trying to get better as a basketball player.”

  • Lastly, Utah’s Bryon Russell. Jordan recalled meeting Russell while he was retired and playing minor league baseball in 1994 – and with Sloan looking on in horror – told of how Russell insisted he could have covered him if Jordan was still playing. Russell later got two cracks at Jordan in the NBA finals, and he was the defender when Jordan hit the clinching shot to win the 1998 title.

“From this day forward, if I ever see him in shorts, I’m coming at him.”

Brett Favre is another example of someone who tries to prove somebody wrong.  Now let me first say that I’m not a Brett Favre fan.  I think he’s been overrated throughout his career because his tendency to throw too many interceptions hurt his team almost as much as his abilities helped him.  Also, he was very wishy-washy the last several years about whether to retire or continue to play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

In fact, a couple of years ago he said his heart wasn’t in the game.  I still think the Packers made the right choice by keeping Aaron Rodgers instead of Favre.  By the time Favre wanted to come back, Green Bay had made other plans.  But having said all that, Favre is having an unbelievable season.  True, he has a great running back and an excellent defense, but Favre has 24 touchdown passes and just three inteceptions, and the Vikings are 11-1.

The thing is, Favre wanted to play for the Vikings, one of the Packers’ most hated rivals last year but he had to go to the New York Jets instead.  This year he got his wish, and you have to give him credit – the Vikings beat the Packers twice this year.  Part of Favre’s motivation is to say, “I told you so,” to the Packers and to make the Packers regret their decision.  I don’t think it’s healthy to use revenge as a motivational tool, but maybe a little bit of “I told you so” or “I’ve proven you wrong” is healthy.

Now, this isn’t the stuff of MJ legend, but when I tried out for the junior high school tennis team in ninth grade, I was cut from the team.  I made the team the next year in high school, and during my junior and senior seasons I had a combined record of 23 wins and eight losses playing at number one doubles.  Then I lettered for four years at Division III Ohio Wesleyan University, albeit a small university.  I never forgot that the “coach” wrongly cut me in ninth grade and put other players on the team ahead of me whom I was much better than.

Then in 2000, after not playing competitively for a decade, I signed up to play in a 4.0-level tennis league.  They told me I would play the first match and then I showed up and they said I wasn’t going to play the first match – I would have to watch.  So I went home, cancelled the check, and looked for a 4.5-level (higher level) league.  I found one and won six of the eight matches I played in doubles.  The local tennis board had to rule on whether to let me play after cancelling the check and writing a new one.  Luckily, they let me play.

Anytime somebody tells you you can’t do something or doubts you, you hate it.  You hate it so much, but then you savor it.  Because it gives you extra motivation.  You never, ever forget it, and then you use it to achieve something great.

Merril Hoge: Get a Life and get off Vince Young’s Back

November 16, 2009

I recently wrote a blog that said that sports analysis has overtaken news analysis in terms of objectivity and professionalism.  Not so for ESPN’s Merril Hoge.  He continues his hatred of Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young.

Today on NFL Countdown he said of Young:  “It’s easy to play offense when this guy (Chris Johnson) is the guy you can give the ball to… Is there any running back that has to do more for his offense than Chris Johnson?  No.”  Then why is Young 3-0 this year and Kerry Collins was 0-6 with the same players?  Why is Young 21-11 as a starter?

Now Hoge says that Patriots coach Bill Belichick made the right call last night by going for it on 4th and 2 from the Pats’ 28 yard line, up by 6 points, giving Peyton Manning a short field to win the game.

What a fool.

Should Jay Cutler be Immediately put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

November 12, 2009

I’m thinking that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, because of his arm strength and passing yardage, should be automatically voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  It’s not too early to consider Cutler the best ever.  Meanwhile, Titans quarterback Vince Young should be kicked out of the NFL.

Cutler has a career record of 21-25.  Young has a career record of 20-11.  But winning doesn’t matter.  It’s how you do it.

I’m exaggerating just a bit.  But how about judging players on the same criteria, or at least make winning even just part of the equation?

Sorry, Mark Schlereth, Merril Hoge, Trent Dilfer, Tim Hasselbeck, and Rich Gannon.  Gannon:  can you say anything other than Vince Young can’t read defenses?  How long did it take you to become a good quarterback?  Give Vince Young a chance.  Don’t judge him using different standards than Cutler.

In reality, Young does have some deficiencies, and Cutler has a lot of talent.  But do you get the picture?  Could it be that Cutler is overrated and Young is underrated?  Why the vitriol against Young?

***

Switching gears for a minute, I’ll admit that sometimes I’m wrong.  In an earlier post I suggested that Browns fans were wrong in wanting Brady Quinn to start at QB ahead of Derek Anderson.  Both players have had terrible years.  I have an idea, though.  How about putting Joshua Cribbs at QB, or at least running the Wildcat with him?  He has a great arm and game-breaking speed.  He can’t do any worse than Anderson or Quinn.  He started at QB at Kent State.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, Cribbs is “one of only four players in NCAA history to both rush and pass for 1,000 yards in at least two different seasons, the others being Beau Morgan of Air ForceVince Young of Texas, and Pat White of West Virginia. Cribbs, in fact, accomplished the feat three times. He is one of only three quarterbacks in NCAA history to rush for 3,500 yards and throw for 7,000 yards in his career (the other two being Antwaan Randle-El of Indiana and Brad Smith of Missouri. Cribbs is also the only player in NCAA history to lead his team in both rushing and passing in four different seasons.”

I saw Cribbs play a game against Ohio State in the Horseshoe and I knew then Cribbs would be an NFL player.  Mid-American Conference QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich all made it as starting NFL quarterbacks and Charlie Frye is a backup. Cleveland, get your best player into the lineup, if not at quarterback, then at Wildcat quarterback, and if not there then start him at wide receiver.

What do you think about Vince Young now, Mark Schlereth and Merril Hoge?

November 2, 2009

Vince Young had a good game today as he completed 15 of 18 passes for 125 yards and a TD and rushed for 31 yards in a 30-13 win for Tennessee over Jacksonville.  His record as a starter is now 19-11.  Sorry, Mark Schlereth, Merril Hoge, Tim Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer, and everybody else at ESPN who hates Young and thinks he can’t play. What are you going to say at the end of the year when Young has gone about 6-4 when they went 0-6 without him?

Vince Young is Underrated; Jay Cutler is Overrated

October 29, 2009

Isn’t it odd that the media hates Vince Young so much even though he has an 18-11 career NFL record, while Jay Cutler has practically already been inducted into the Hall of Fame despite a starting record in the NFL of 20-23 even though he had QB guru Mike Shanahan as his coach for his first two seasons?  Oh, and Cutler has had unbelievable receivers in Denver and Young had no receivers.  How about some objectivity?

Here’s a blog that also mentions Cutler’s sorry record in college: http://rwridley.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/cutler-sucks/. Does winning ever matter?  Apparently not.

Using Disrespect to Motivate Yourself and Prove People Wrong

October 5, 2009

In sports, as in life, sometimes when you feel slighted and disrespected, it can give you extra motivation to do well to prove people wrong.

Michael Jordan was famous for it, Brett Favre is going through it now, and I’ve even used it myself for extra incentive.

“It” happens when people underestimate you.

A lot of people were put off by Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction speech last month, when he recounted many instances when people said he wasn’t good enough.  Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he never forgot it, so he became the greatest player of all time.  Writers said he’d never win a championship, so he won six.

In 1993, LaBradford Smith of the Washington Bullets scored 37 points against Jordan and the Bulls and supposedly said, “Nice game, Mike.”  Jordan vowed to score 37 points against the Bullets the next game by halftime and he scored 36 by halftime, 47 in all in just 31 minutes.  The funny thing is that Jordan admitted later that Smith never taunted him, but he just made the story up to give him extra motivation.

Now, just hours before Brett Favre of the Minnesota Vikings takes on his former team, the Green Bay Packers, there’s a lot of talk of revenge.  This is different than the Jordan situation, though.  While the Packers decided to let Favre go a couple of years ago in favor of Aaron Rodgers, it was partly because Favre kept going back and forth and wouldn’t give Green Bay a decision about whether he wanted to come back instead of retire.  When the deadline had passed with Favre deciding to remain retired, the Pack decided to go with Rogers.

Last summer before Favre signed with the New York Jets, it was clear his first choice was to go to Minnesota because they were one of Green Bay’s major rivals.  Favre wanted revenge.  He would like nothing better than to prove the Packers wrong.  But the Packers made the right decision.  Favre broke down at the end of last season, and though he’s having success this year, it’s mainly because he’s on a very good team.  And most football insiders know that Favre takes away as much as he gives, as he has more interceptions than any QB in NFL history (Click on “Quarterbacks” on the right side of the blog to see what I wrote about Favre a year ago).

Still, the idea of proving someone wrong can be very strong, and if you can use it as motivation, more power to you.

You see this most often in sports when an underdog uses disrespect as extra motivation to win.

Three years ago I wrote about why I like working with kids with autism under my first FAQ at http://www.coachmike.net/autism-faq.php:

I’ve always loved sports, and I root for the underdog. Anybody who has played sports or been a sports fan knows that when someone says you can’t do something, you love to prove them wrong. I prefer working with the kids who have the most severe disabilities because I love the challenge. One of the things I like most about working with kids with autism is the amount of progress that they have the potential to make.

I remember a time when an autism therapist asked why multiplication should be taught to a child who would never have a reason to use it.  About a year after that, the child mastered triple digit multiplication.

When I tried out for the junior high school tennis team in ninth grade, I was cut from the team.  I made the team the next year in high school, and during my junior and senior seasons I had a combined record of 23 wins and eight losses in doubles.  Then I lettered for four years at Division III Ohio Wesleyan University, albeit a small university.  I never forgot that the coach wrongly cut me in ninth grade and put other players on the team ahead of me whom I was better than.

Then in 2000, I signed up to play in a 4.0-level tennis league.  They told me I would play the first match and then I showed up and they said I wasn’t going to play the first match – I would have to watch.  So I went home, cancelled the check, and looked for a 4.5-level (higher level) league.  I found one and won six of the eight matches I played in doubles.  Some tennis board had to decide whether to let me play or not after cancelling the check and writing a new one.  Luckily, they did.

I’m not trying to compare Michael Jordan to me, I’m just saying that proving people wrong can be a powerful motivational tool.

How many times has the media counted someone out?  John Elway can’t win a Super Bowl (he won two).  Peyton Manning can’t win the big one (he won a Super Bowl).  Kobe Bryant can’t win an NBA title without Shaq (he did it last year).

Keep giving people motivation.  Keep saying they can’t do something.  But don’t put limitations on anyone.  I just searched on the word “limit” from the “Autism” category of my blog.  It came up three times:

I quoted from the book “Engaging Autism” by Stanley Greenspan:  “Schools tend to be very structured and to put a high priority on compliance and limit setting, rather than on engaging, interacting, problem-solving, and thinking creatively and logically.”

Then, from “Sports for Children with Autism,” which I wrote last summer:

“I never would have thought hockey would be a great sport for kids with autism because of the need to skate and handle a stick simultaneously, but it turns out that it can be great, and it just goes to show that we shouldn’t put limitations on anyone.”

And finally, this:  “A lot of people are familiar with the amazing story of Jason McElwain, an autistic teenager who scored 6 three-point baskets in a game for his high school team a few years ago. This type of success doesn’t happen a lot, but it would never happen if too many limitations are put on children who have autism and other disabilities who want to play sports.”

Dumb Comment

October 5, 2009

Yesterday on the Broncos-Cowboys telecast, Troy Aikman said one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.  He said that when he observed Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall at practice, he worked harder than any wide receiver he’s ever seen at a practice except for Michael Irvin.  I highly doubt that.  First, it’s not possible to work harder than giving 100 percent effort, so it would probably be a tie between about a thousand receivers as to who worked the hardest at a practice.  I also find the idea of Irvin working harder than any other receiver kind of ridiculous.  However, if there was a receiver who worked harder than anyone else it would be Art Monk, who by the way had more catches, yards, and touchdowns than Irvin and did it without a Hall of Fame QB.

Cleveland Clowns Fans

September 29, 2009

Are Cleveland Browns fans smart enough to deserve a winning football team?

In 2005, the fan base clamored for a rookie, local product Charlie Frye to start over Trent Dilfer, who had won a Super Bowl.  Frye went on to go 6-13 with the Browns and he is now on his third team, the Raiders, and won’t likely see the field.

Once again, most Browns fans wanted the local player this year, Brady Quinn, over the better player, Derek Anderson.  Anderson was 10-5 as a starter in 2007, but the Browns went with the heralded unproven Quinn who is 0-3 so far this year.  He makes more money, so he must be better, right?

This forlorn franchise should stop listening to its fans and let players earn their positions instead.

Chicago Bears QBs: Sid Luckman, Jim McMahon, Jim Miller, and Jay Cutler

July 10, 2009

I’m a little tired of sports media types and fans not being able to think for themselves and instead just repeating things over and over.  I gave an example the other day when I said that the whole sports media world says universally that Roger Federer was better than Pete Sampras just because he leads him in Grand Slam titles, 15-14.

Here’s another example.  Fans and sports media constantly say that the Chicago Bears haven’t had a great quarterback since Sid Luckman in the 1940s.  What about Jim McMahon?  All he did was win a Super Bowl, go 36-5 for the Bears from 1984-1988 and 67-30 overall for his career.  It’s pretty pathetic that people don’t care about results, about productivity, about winning.  It’s true that the Bears had a great defense then, but they had a pretty bad receiving corps.  He was also known as a good leader.  Remember too that McMahon was a first round pick, No. 5 overall in 1982.

McMahon’s career completion percentage was a very good 58%, and from 1984 to 1987, his TD to interception ratio was 40 to 29.  Pretty good for that era.  McMahon obviously wasn’t as good as Marino, Elway, Montana, Esiason or Moon, but four of them are in the Hall of Fame.  McMahon was great for a few years.

I don’t care about McMahon or the Bears but I do care when people (fans, sports media, news media) don’t think for themselves and just repeat back what others say.

I hate it when people like Jim Miller of Sirius NFL Radio agree with callers who say that the Bears haven’t had any great QBs.  Of course, Miller says a QB should have a ratio of 2 TDs for every interception.  He and others ignore the fact that passing stats were much less prolific 20 years ago than they are today.

In my article a year and a half ago advocating Art Monk to get into the NFL Hall of Fame (http://www.coachmike.net/artmonk.php), I talked about this (though Monk’s stats are unbelievable for any era):

If we look at the rise in offensive statistics in the Super Bowl era, we see three distinctly different eras. The first 14 years of the Super Bowl were characterized by run-first teams. The middle 14 years (Monk’s Redskins career) were dramatically different with the passing game opening up because of the rules changes in the late 70s. What some of the voters either fail to recognize or acknowledge is that the most recent 14 years have also had significant increases in passing and receiving numbers due to further changes including the west coast offense and other schemes in which passing is used to set up the run. See the table below.

NFL

1966-1979

1980-1993 (Monk’s era with the Redskins)

1994-2007

Number of individual 4,000 – yard passing seasons

2

19

46

Number of individual 100 – catch seasons

0

3

50

Number of 1500 – yard receiving seasons

0

5

15

McMahon played in the 1980s.  It wasn’t that long ago.  Of course, now everyone says that Jay Cutler is the first great quarterback to play for the Bears in 60 years.  What an insult.  Cutler is 17-20 overall for his career and hasn’t made the playoffs.  Cutler does have the stats, though, and that’s what people care about.

Why does ESPN Hate Vince Young so much?

June 2, 2009

ESPN’s Mark Schlereth said something today that I thought was totally out of line.  He said of Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young, “You don’t have the football acumen to play the position the way it needs to be played.”  That was exceedingly harsh considering that Young has only played two full seasons (last year, he got hurt and replaced by Kerry Collins).

This is just another example of the fact that in the NFL, winning doesn’t matter – it matters more how you do it.  I guess Schlereth doesn’t like Young’s mobility or long windup.  Young has a career record of 18-11 as a starter.  The two years before Young came to the Titans, they were 9-23.  So Young has a career record of 18-11 and he’s considered a bust?  Jay Cutler, in the same draft class as Young, has a career record of 17-20, and Cutler, who had QB guru Mike Shanahan coaching him, is considered a demigod by the media (though Schlereth has also criticized Cutler).

Sound familiar?  In another blog entry I talk about the fact that Josh McCown, with a career record of 1-7, is the favorite to be the starter in Tampa Bay despite the fact that Byron Leftwich has a 24-20 career record, and Tampa eventually wants to give the job to a rookie who hasn’t proven anything.

Young’s stats aren’t that great but he has been working with some of the worst wide receivers in the NFL.  He also led four fourth quarter comebacks during his rookie season when he was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.  During one of those comebacks, Young overcame a 21-0 nothing deficit to the New York Giants.  Another win was over the 10-1 Indianapolis Colts, who were leading by 14 points.

Young was named one of the 10 best college football players of all-time by ESPN, so isn’t it a little too early to give up on him – after an 18-11 record as a starter, a trip to the playoffs, and only two full seasons?  Collins has earned the starting job after a great season last year, but don’t give up on Young just yet.  I don’t blame Young for wanting to play and avoid potentially missing another full year from his career.

I don’t like it when a high draft pick is given a starting job based on potential instead of earning it.  At the same time, though, it’s just as bad when someone is counted out prematurely.  It is a little bit ironic that quarterbacks like Collins, Young, and Leftwich all fit both descriptions.

At the same time, Young should work hard and know that Collins might get injured, and there would be a good chance that he will get in and play about half the season anyway.

It’s not just Schlereth, though.  ESPN’s Trent Dilfer has been critical of Young and Merril Hoge has had well publicized verbal dust ups with Young.  It seems like for someone who has never had a losing season and who you would expect to get better and not worse, Young has come under undue criticism.

Schlereth is sounding a little like Charles Barkley – say something with authority and you must be right.  He’s also a little like Kenny Smith – an average player who was lucky to have Hall of Famers like John Elway with the Broncos and Art Monk and Darrell Green with the Redskins to get him championship rings.  Most of Schlereth’s commentary is great but with statements like “You don’t have the football acumen to play the position the way it needs to be played,” and “You’re no good at playing quarterback,” maybe Schlereth should get rid of any personal vendettas, study more football and do less soap opera acting.