Football Philosophy: Overshadowing of Determination

Steelers Dri Archer

When I got invited to write for Fakepigskin, I wanted to make an impact immediately. I could have written an article about football, specifically dynasty football which I consider my specialty. However, with the fantasy season recently coming to an end, I felt as if I needed something different and focus on football philosophy.

David S. Chambliss once wrote an article explaining the lifestyle of Olympic Swimmers and just how little we realize about the professional athlete. I have decided to piggyback on that article and help you realize that terms such as “talent” and “gift” are not just over rated attributes, but attributes that may very well be non-existent.

Before Chambliss convinced me that those terms should not exist in the world of football, he first separated the sport into separate spheres. For the sake of this article, we will separate football into 3 separate spheres: High School, College and the NFL. Athletes may only be compared to other athletes that lay within the same sphere as themselves. High school athletes can be compared on the high school level, College athletes may be put side by side to other college athletes and the NFL professional athletes stand in a world of their own. It is not that the superstars of the NFL do more than those of High School players, in fact it is very possible that they put the same amount of raw work into the sport that they play. The difference in these athletes is primarily how they perform, rather than how often.

One of the most widely used quotes among the world of sport is “practice makes perfect.” It gets swept under the rug far too often that it is an incomplete quote. Vince Lombardi’s actual quote was “Perfect practice makes perfect.” A majority of athletes do not understand the fact that repetitions and pure “talent” will not improve your skill. It takes a will and a desire to find the best way to perform your skill in order to shift from one sphere to a greater one. Running Backs may have natural speed, which is one of the rare occurrences when talent can be used properly, but if the only thing that back can do is run straight, there is very little chance he will be successful in the NFL (i.e. Dri Archer.)

It is not the major aspects that make up a great player either. A player must continually work on the little things in order to perfect his craft. A receiver is generally judged on his hands, but it takes a mind for the game in order to rise to the top. A receiver must first be able to mentally accept which route he must run, does it require a hitch move or are you simply trying to find the soft spot in the zone and sit. Then he must create separation from the defender using a variety of techniques that come as second nature to those who have developed them. If he is lucky enough to have the ball thrown to him, he then has to locate the ball, control his body and make the catch all while maintaining the separation that he created earlier in the route. All of these little overlooked attributes are not formed from natural talent or as a gift, rather through correct and accurate repetition and perfecting the craft that these players represent.

With all of that being said, we as a whole often forget the sacrifice that these athletes make. These athletes did not get to the point where they are today through talent and luck. Each athlete that we watch and root for got there through determination and a will to succeed. We cannot forget that while we root or curse at them because of the ramifications of our fantasy teams that they need to represent more. They represent the best of anyone who has ever played the sport and they sincerely need to be treated as such.

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