Article by Jay Coulter
Photo made using @WordSwagApp
The great NFL quarterback Peyton Manning has officially retired. While his 18 year football career has produced Superbowl titles and amazing statistics, I believe there are six traits that he demonstrated that could help anyone struggling with a stressful period or their mental health.
March 5th, 1997 he announced that he would return to The University of Tennessee for his senior year instead of heading off for NFL riches. I remember sitting in my car listening to his press conference. These were his words:
Apparently it was a difficult decision for the young Peyton Manning, but he knew that he would never get the chance to be a college QB again and decided that was what held a higher priority for him. The NFL would be there after he finished his senior year.
Lesson - Prioritize what is important to you today and make that your focus.......tomorrow will take care of itself.
After the 1997 season, Peyton finished second in the prestigious Heisman Trophy voting to Charles Woodson. (1815 votes to 1543 votes). It was a shock to a lot of people in the sports world, but it was an especially sharp blow to Tennessee fans and their star QB. In defeat, Peyton Manning was as humble and stoic as you would expect. It has served him well. Recently he had this to say about Mr. Woodson:
Lesson - When life disappoints you, be gracious and move on because the past is just that......the past.
The easiest trait to quantify is Peyton's perseverance. Manning had 45 4th quarter comebacks and 56 game winning drives. Those are NFL records and beyond mind stretching. Below are two of my personal favorites:
I was fortunate enough to watch many of his comeback with my son and the lesson is always the same.
Lesson - Always remember that the battle, no matter how bleak it appears, is not over unless you give up.
Obviously every game he played did not result in victory. In fact, one of the best traits he demonstrated, by example, was after his devastating 43-8 loss to the Seahawks in Superbowl 48. He had 2 interceptions and his offense that had put up amazing statistics during the regular season looked inept. Seattle's defense was lead by Richard Sherman and this is what he said after the game:
"When I was limping up to my press conference and trying to make it up the stairs, somebody taps me on the shoulder and extends their hand and asks if I'm all right......My eyes try to make it up to see who it is, and it's Peyton ... fully dressed in a suit and obviously very concerned about my well-being. You know, after a game like that, biggest stage ever -- to ask how you're doing and really be generally concerned about an opponent, that shows an incredibly different amount of humility and class." - Richard Sherman on Peyton Manning after Superbowl 48 (Link)
Lesson - When you feel stigmatized by your struggle, you can still win by rising above it all and showing class.
Manning's career came to a halt when he had to sit out the 2011 season due to an injury. At the end of the season, the only NFL franchise he has ever played for released him. This was devastating for Manning. In the offseason before the move to Denver, Manning spent 2.5 months with his former college offensive coordinator David Cutcliff. They tirelessly worked to rebuild his throwing motion. (Source) By the end of Manning’s 2013 season he had amassed 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns and 342.3 yards per game, all of which are NFL records, and finished with a 121.1 QB rating. (Link)
Lesson - Sometimes personal reinvention is a necessity.
During his final season in the NFL (2015), Manning sustained an injury to his foot. Just incase you do not know the story, he sat out for 6 games and rejoined the team in the final game of the season as a back-up. During the final game, the starting quarterback had a tough game and Peyton was brought into the line-up in relief. He managed to lead the team to a comeback victory and then stayed at the helm until their eventual Superbowl victory. But, that is not the story in my opinion. The story is the relentless work he put in to the rehab process prior to rejoining the team. His resilience and commitment to preparation allowed him to earn back his job and lead the team to the Superbowl victory.
Lesson - Work hard even when things are not going your way, because you never know when you will get the call to get back in the game.
Jay Coulter is a Mental Health Blogger, Podcast Producer and founder of ConquerWorry.org™. The platform is a volunteer run organization dedicated to inspiring, educating and advocating for those who struggle with their mental health. ConquerWorry™ has almost 150,000 social media followers and we would love to have you in our community which can be found online and on most social media platforms.
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