When you’re a kicker in the NFL, the job description is pretty straightforward: put the ball between the uprights on field goals and extra points and limit your opponent’s field position on kickoffs.
The simplistic job description for kickers makes them an easy target for sarcasm and derision; after all, while everyone else is sweating through the first half, the kicker is sipping Gatorade on the sidelines, just waiting for his number to be called.
Pretty sweet gig, right?
Except being a kicker in the NFL is NOT easy, a lesson we relearned on Sunday when Mason Crosby, the dynamite kicker for the Green Bay Packers, did something he’s never done before.
He missed four fields and a PAT.
In one game.
“I couldn’t have done this without the help of everyone around me.”
Those were the words of Tiger Woods on Sunday evening as he stood, victorious, at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club. At the home of Bobby Jones, Tiger once again found a way to make golf magic happen, shooting a final round 71 to win the 2018 Tour Championship in a thrilling wire-to-wire fashion.
And as he stood there in the setting sun, surrounded by thousands of fans cheering him on, what looked familiar felt brand new. In fact, it was obvious how new things were when Woods, a winner for the first time since 2013, choked back tears as he spoke of the moment and what it meant to him.
On the golf course?
To quote the late Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out here?”
Maybe the best parts of life as a journalist are those moments when you get to go eye-to-eye with one of your heroes and your “job” is to engage them in conversation. And if you get to do that “job” at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio the “work” gets even sweeter.
A couple of weeks ago, leadership legend John Maxwell invited me to join him on stage in Canton to interview football legend, Roger Staubach. We talked about how he went from a kid in Cincinnati, Ohio to a Heisman-trophy winning, two-time Super Bowl winning, Hall-of-Fame quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys. I loved the entire conversation, but he told one story that really grabbed my attention.
Coming into his senior year of high school, Staubach’s coach wanted him to step up and take the job as the team’s quarterback. He actually told his coach, "I don't want to be quarterback and you've already got a great quarterback," naming off a kid who was bigger, stronger than him. The coach looked at him and said, "Yeah, he may be bigger, stronger, he may have been a quarterback before. But the other boys will follow you."
Roger Staubach will forever be enshrined in Canton, and yet he didn't see himself as quarterback. He didn’t see a gift that had little to do with arm strength or accuracy. He told me, "If I didn't listen to that coach, if I had just said, 'No, coach, the other guy is the guy,' first off, I'm not sitting on the stage with you. My bust is not in the Hall of Fame. It was because of what the coach saw in me – that people will follow me – that all this has happened."