This was a busy weekend for me. I was in a two-day 16 hour seminar on the knee and low back. So besides that I didn’t get up to a whole lot. Although I did get out to see the Bodyworks exhibit. If you haven’t seen it you should go. Other than studying functional anatomy, assessment protocols and corrective exercise strategies I didn’t get a whole lot done.

Which obviously means I didn’t catch much NFL football. But I did see one play. It was during the Jets-Dolphins game. The Dolphins were punting and one of their players ran down the field in coverage.

This player ran out of bounds slightly and then hit the ground hard. It turns out this player was tripped by one of the Jets coaches.

On purpose.

It doesn’t matter what your sports background or preference is, this play evoked an emotion in everyone.

Since the game this Jets coach has admitted to purposefully sticking out his knee to trip the Dolphins player. He has since been fined and suspended without pay for the rest of the season by the Jets.

So what lessons can we take from this situation? Here are three to consider.

1. Respect thy opponent

When you play a sport against an opponent you don’t have to like who you’re competing against. Sometimes coaches will even try and instill a hatred for the opponent to invoke more motivation and determination. Personally I don’t buy it. You should be able to get up for every game regardless of your opponent. But that’s not really the point.

The point here is that while you don’t have to like your opponent you do have to respect them. And you show them respect by playing them aggressively and fairly.

Think about a pick up game where the worst  player on one of the teams doens’t even get guarded. Nobody repects this guy as a threat and therefore leaves him unguarded. So you show respect by covering someone and playing them tough but fair.

When you take a cheap shot at an opponent however you are dispecting them. And this leads to the second point, playing fair.

2. Keep it between the sidelines

There’s an expression in every sport about fair play that relates to leaving the competition on the field of play. Athletes understand that they need to be as aggressive, tough and difficult to play against on the field. But they also have to be able to understand when to reign it in and stop. In football you may hear the expressions about ‘playing between the whistles’ or ‘keeping it between the sidelines’. This simply means that when a play is whistled over or a play goes out of bounds everything stops. Unfortunately for this coach the play went outside the sidelines and he, as a spectator not a player, influenced a play outside the sidelines. This leads to my next point which is to play in control.

3. Stay in control

This is so much easier said than done. You never want to get too high after a success or too low after a disappointment. When you can stay in control of your emotions you will do a better job of fulfilling your assignments during the game and be an asset to your team’s succcess. On the flip side when your emotions get out of control you do things that are detrimental to your team. You put your own personal vendettas ahead of team success. In this case this coach was not in control of his emotions and reacted poorly to a situation. 

4. Let how you deal with setbacks define you

‘Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!’

The guy screwed up. He admitted what he did was wrong. He is getting fined heavily. $25 grand is a lot of dough for millionaire players. It’s a heck of lot more to a guy making substantially less than that.

But now there is an opportunity for this coach. You see I believe your character is defined by how you handle setbacks. What do you do when the chips are down? How do you redeem yourself in the eyes of the ones he has let down?

One idea would be to go and help the ones he has let down the most. Young kids are being told to win-at-all-costs and ‘if the ref doesn’t call it, do it’. Maybe he need to make things right with the kids who will see what he did and not understand.

What about donating his time and talents (he is a NFL s/c)  to put on a football clinic for young kids in the Miami area. He could show kids the right way to get ahead in the game rather than the wrong ways such as what he did.

I’d be curious as to whether he’d be up for the challenge. But if he is truly sorry and wants to redeem himself this may be a great opportunity.

What do you think? Can this coach redeem himself? Will he coach in the NFL next year? Let me hear what you think.





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