Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Joe Flacco - An Excellent Role Model

      With the Super Bowl in the books for another year and Joe Flacco being named the Most Valuable Player, I just wanted to comment on Joe Flacco's persona. Actually, this message goes out to young athletes.
      Listening to sports talk radio two weeks ago, the "experts," were commenting on Flacco's quiet leadership skills. Too quiet, too unemotional, and too laidback. Needs to get into a receiver's face on a dropped ball. If a lineman misses a block, he should let him know it in "no uncertain terms." When he throws a touchdown pass, he should do a dance, or pound his chest. Not only are all of those things silly, they are not Joe Flacco.
      Mike Greenberg said that Joe Flacco needs to be more emotional. Flacco just lead the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl Championship and did it his way. He just let his actions do the talking. No ranting or raving. No facial expressions. Most of all, he did not try to emulate somebody he was not.
      Years ago there used to be a slogan, "Be like Mike." This was in reference to Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan. For me, probably the best basketball player ever. Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tremendous player. Sream and yell at his teammates in practice. Sometimes even squared off. Partied all night. Womanizer. Big time gambler. As I said, "tremendous basketball player." The best. But would you really want your son to be like Mike?"
      Fans want Ohio State's Braxton Miller to be more emotional. Even Urban Meyer is trying to get advice on how to get more emotion and excitement out of Braxton. But, if you have watched Braxton mature over the years as a quarterback, you realize Braxton shows little emotion and plays to the competition. Tremendous competitor. Now that he is doing more video work and more game study and prep, he will continue to get better. Braxton Miller does not have to pound his chest, or get in a players "grill" to be an outstanding QB. He does not have to be a "media darling." Simply, be yourself, Braxton, and as Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders used to say "Just Win, Baby."
      Former Cleveland Browns coach, Eric Mangini, tried to be like Bill Belichick. There is only one Belichick, but when his assistants go on to head coaching jobs, they act like him. Not good. Mangini is  now doing ESPN and doing a really good job. Someone said that they were surprised at his calmness. His comment was "that was not me, when I was coaching the Browns."  Be who you are. I have seen college assistant coaches change their whole personality, when working under a different head coach.
      Young athletes, just be yourself. Do what you do best. Do not try to be phoney. Do not try to impress, by showing that "fake" emotion. If you are a "yeller," yell. But you had better be able "to walk your talk."Otherwise no one will listen to you. If you are a quiet leader, staythat way. One thing, when you do have something to say, players will listen.
      Finally, I see many people, young and old, get out of character to impress. Not necessary. Be yourself. You do not have to draw attention to yourself. If you are a silent leader, stay that way. If you are an aggressive leader, stay that way, but, again,  you better be able to back it up. Although I am not a big Chris Spielman fan now, he may have been the best vocal leader on the football field that I have seen. Tough, smart, aggressive, played hurt, not tall, but played big, not fast, but played fast. Really, he had it all.
      Please Joe Flacco, don't change your persona. Mike and Mike were wrong on this one. Prove to young athletes that is okay not to show fake emotion, not to get in a teammate's face, and not to be to animated. Be who you are, and, of course, "Just Win, Baby."

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