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The Teachers of the NFL

By Troy Vincent
NFL Player Engagement

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

The turf was covered by a sea of cameras, microphones and production crews. The media had set up camp.

As I moved through the crowded field on “Super Bowl Media Day” last month, I marveled at what can only be described as organized bedlam. More like a media festival than a press conference; it is a day designed to acknowledge deserving individual players and coaches who, through exemplary and incredible teamwork, have made it to what we consider “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the Super Bowl.

Despite the noise level resulting from hundreds of conversations and interviews happening simultaneously, I was still able to overhear bits and pieces of the interviews being given by the players from both teams. The conversations I overheard weren’t just about football.

More than ever, reporters from every media source imaginable were there to find and bring back the player interviews that would get noticed; the report that would reveal something – anything – about a player that could become a bigger story; a back story previously untold.

Whether their approach was light-hearted or serious, the media was front and center that day seeking the ultimate sound bite or the exclusive footage that would perhaps become the most talked about quote or video clip of Super Bowl XLVI.

The premise of Media Day has always been to give the fans and the media a close-up and personal glimpse into the on and off lives of those players who have made it to the Super Bowl. Putting it simply, people want to know who these players are. They already know their player stats. They want to know about the other stats – the private stats; their other side – the “who are you” when you aren’t playing football kind of stats.

For those who play – or ever played – for the NFL, everyday is media day. The “who we are” will always be more important than how well we played last year or ten years ago or even on Super Bowl Sunday.

“Who we are” is what will inspire young fans to think about the decisions they make in their own lives. What we do and how we conduct ourselves in our personal and off-field lives will greatly influence those who look to their role models to show them how to live their own lives. Young fans do more that look up to us; they look to us.

As present and former players of the NFL, we are called to be educators on the most important aspects of life. Through the game of football we have the privilege of showing others, through our example and our conduct, what a man of character looks like, sounds like and acts like – we have the opportunity to show others who we really are.

We are the teachers and we are the NFL.

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