1975 At Churchill H.S. in Potomac, Maryland we were State
Champions, to get ready for the season we would scrimmage Coach Boone's T.C.
Williams (Titans). If you saw "Remember The Titans" we always looked
forward competing against the best. We were both champions that dominated. The
SECRET. Passion. Hard Work. Extreme dedication. Building a culture that expects
to win. The color of your skin did
1977. This was my senior year at Churchill HS. It was my
last shot to make it big in football. I was benched the year before. The year
before that I was captain of the 3rd team. I knew if I wanted to go play
Division 1 football, I had to make big plays in every game. This was my moment.
I had to make the impossible happen. Little did I know this decision and
mindset was opening up doors to my future that would change the game forever.
1978 When Bill Walsh took over at Stanford he issued in a
new forward thinking culture strategy based on shared learning, shared
intelligence, shared ownership. The offense was a real time learning offense
that would change and improve instantly with all new intelligence that was
being acquired on each play.
This SMART OFFENSE would become known as the "West
Coast Offense." It looked flashy and exciting however it was based on
sound fundamentals, algorithms and sophisticated analytics. I was gripped as I
learned. It could not be stopped. It's all math. He cracked the code by asking
big new questions.
Stanford 1979 My first love was Track & Field. At
Stanford I trained with the Olympians. Watching the Russian's training regimen
was shocking. They took science, mind and body engineering to a totally different
level. This was the beginning of the many revolutions in the health &
fitness. This new Oregon based company with a funny name(Nike) was testing an idea --
specialized shoes. Steve Prefontaine was one of the first testors of their new
Bowl games were exciting but
extremely disruptive. All bets were off. You were lining up against
a new competitor. They were going to show you something you've never
seen. It was total chaos. This made for a very dangerous tactical game
of agility, responsiveness, instant learning, improvement and percision
execution. All Bowl games were like this. The key is being prepared for
everything and being prepared for nothing. This is a powerful place you must go to-- within your head. To learn more --
study The Art of War.
1980 At Stanford, known in the 100 year Stanford Tradition
as THE BIG GAME vs Cal Berkley, this young kid Elway took a backseat to the
tremendous scale of this competition. The two campus's that prided themselves
in creativity, ingenuity, socio-economic advances, computer science technology -- turned a Bay area rivalry into a rich
cultural tradition that spans decades.
In 1981 when I entered the league, the New England Patriots
went 2-14. From this pit of devastation came the seeds of inspiration and firm
resolve to change the course of history. Our new goals was to make the
impossible happen. This was a big leap. How to you go from being the worst team
in the NFL, to a conversation
about focusing on the Super Bowl? We did it. It starts with the bold
conversation and follows with a deep primal resolver to abruptly change the
game forever. It's a mindset. It is the mindset of the champion.
Being a Champion means rising to the community platform of a
Servant Leader. Everyone must play a roll in developing, leading, empowering
and calling out the Passion of the PLAYMAKERS. Many great leaders, teachers,
coaches, contributed to my rise as a world class competitor. The rest was
focus, discipline, intensity, passion and a fierce covenant to never, ever,
ever give up. Thanks Granma for your 30 years of prayers.
1983 There's only one man in the NFL that could make me look
small -- Ed "Too Tall" Jones. This was my first Pro Bowl. The best
part was sharing the learning, tapping into other's SECRETS, uncovering what is
operating on the inside that drives their success -- a core covenant to Win and
Win again. It's not a process. It's a decision.
1984, In the NFL the Left Tackle, is the T-Rex of the
offensive line. We line up against the opponents best defensive player. I had
many wonderful weekends with some rather unfriendly guest -- Randy White,
"Too Tall" Jones, Lawrence Taylor, Leroy Selmon, Howie Long, Reggie
White, Dexter Manley, Charles Mann, Clay Matthews, and the ugly twins from
Jets, Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau. It's the hot spot. You cannot make a
mistake. You protect the blindside of the quarterback. Every play matters.
1984 These core leaders of the New England Patriots front
line were the courageous group of men that dreamed the impossible. No team has
ever been able to crack the code to the Super Bowl. We did. They called us the
IRONMEN. We kicked the door in to a future that was going to change the course
of New England Patriot history. We lived the dream -- it was a total team effort.
1984 As the VP of the NFL Players, I introduced the
Leadership Service Corp with President Bush. So now the professional athlete's
could join with White House core initiatives to serve and give to communities
throughout the country. This efforts was awarded one of President's Bush's
Points of Light.
December 1, 1985. Teacher in Space. As we left 500,000 fans
that showed up at Boston City Hall to celebrate it's AFC Championship TEAM, I
met Christa MacAulliffe , "The Teacher in Space" in the VIP reception.
This was the last time I would see her.. I would later join with the Space
Shuttle Challenger surviving family members to help raise the $52 million
dollar capital campaign to build the Challenge Center For Space Science
Education, a living tribute to the ill-fated Challenger Crew.
Summer 1985 Winning is duplicatable. The oldest son of our 8
children, David sitting on Dad's helmet in practice. Their was a lot going on
in this young man's mind. This was the beginning of his own ambitious journey
as a walk-on ball player at Maryland, to become a Maryland Hall of Famer, then
launched him into the NFL with Arizona, Cleveland, Redskins and Jacksonville.
Domination begins with a mindset, then percision execution.
When Ringo discovered I could run they instantly designed this play for John
Hannah and myself to run powersweeps. Defense's couldnot stop it if you have power and speed. Joe Greene hated
this play. LT too. It was a bonecrusher.
Took years to learn the timing to exploit the perfect
weaknesses in the defense. The key is knowing what's going to happen -- before
it does. This only comes from hours spent in film study. And you also need a
good dose of excessive compulsive disorder and being a perfectionist.
Their is the business of sports and sports marketing. The
NFL is a marketing enterprise that sells products. In a 3 hour game, you watch
60 minutes of football and 120 minutes of marketing/product sales. I broke the
mold as a lineman when I created and launched this brand. It had never been
done before. This comes from hours spent in marketing and design study at
Stanford. This brand was toextend beyond
the field. This brand was to extend beyond the career. Today it remains a very
successful and in demand brand/message. WAIT FOR NOTHING! The key to winning it
Jan 1986 This was the moment or all moment's -- standing at
the Super Bowl XX, the world watched. It was the ultimate David's vs. Goliath
moment for the New England Patriots facing the "Super Bowl Shuffle"
Chicago Bears. This game would make history -- as the brand marketing power of
the NFL leaped from the hundred's of millions to Billions. The 85 Bear's team
did for NFL what Hulk Hogan did for the world of professional Wrestling.
Everyone was going to make more moneyby the new thin
slicing of products, brand and global reach.
I had just moved to Harvard Square in Cambridge Mass, Bill
Walton of the Celtics encouraged me to "experience" this vibrant
intellectual community. We both had our sights on Harvard's Busienss School. My
plans changed when I was traded to the Raiders. This disruptive shift would be
one of the most important events that would shape the new 20 years of my life.
A crucial catapult. The next time I would step on campus at the Harvard
Business School, was as a special guest lecturer, sharing business intelligence
1987 Al Davis's Silver & Black total focus was
"Just Win Baby!", nothing else matter; nothing else was relevant. We
had 10 Hall of Famer's on this team. Total focus. Total loyalty. Total
dedication to Silver and Black. They say that once you put on the Raider Black
jersey, it changes you forever. I thought it was a myth -- until it happened to
me. I can't explain it. I don't know the science behind it.
But I assure
you on some quantum physics level -- you change. What I'm saying is, you access
something on a very deep level. It's real. It's powerful.
It was common for the great athlete's across professions to
become friends. Roger Clemens and I studied each other. You would be surprised
how much you can learn in a couple of conversations.
The most powerful thing was tapping into their "point
of view" in other words -- how they saw the world. World Class competitors
are wired differently. They see different. They think different. They prepare
different. I will never forget one afternoon when I finally made it down to the
Boston Gardens to watch Larry Byrd's practice. It will change you.
1993 My grandfather was a key figure in shaping America
policy of Civil Rights and Education -- with his start up -- The United Negro
College Fund. My paternal grandfather was a private adviser and trusted friend
to President Hoover. Our family has been very close to the White House for many
years. The tradition continues today.
November 1995, ABC Sports. While we were broadcasting, I was
given the freedom to grow the ABC Sports experience. It was more than just
broadcasting during the game -- it was about winning the total fan experience
all week long. I started designing the first online community and dialog, with daily
postings on the website. (The creative team was me, 2 college unpaid interns,
stuffed into a converted broom closet) We had 2,000,000 hits the first week. At
the time, no one had name for whatwas happening.
It created tremendous BUZZ. And the news went viral. This was the first LIVE
blog and LIVE chat. It was 1995.
2000 I learned the real Vince Lombardi SECRETS from this
man, a great mentor that changed my life forever. Jim Ringo, the center that
played for the original Green Bay Packer World Champions. The greatest coach
ever. Hall of Famer, John Hannah will tell you the same thing. Ringo was a master
of the fundamentals; a brilliant mind, an intellectual that studied and
mastered the Art of War.
2001 He was known as "Refrigerator" Perry, the
loveable, gapped-tooth smile marketing phenom of the 85 Bears. Let me give you
an inside tip -- you cannot stop a 400lb 6'1 fullback. It can't be done. He may
look chubby to you -- let me let you in on a secret -- a guy that squats 1400
lbs, can not be stopped. 10 years after Super Bowl XX, we joined up to cross
market and promote leapfrogging our strength and growing our marketing reach.
This was a very successful partnership.
This was one of the original drawings done by Disney animators;
we were building the story boards for another marketing project. We used the
black and white impressions to begin the creative design process. You can see
more in my book, "When I Was Little...I Was Big!" I fun, entertaining
read for children and grandchildren; a profound read for business leaders that
must make the impossible happen.
2005 Companies are most interested in the Business
Intelligence behind the Champion. They can pretty much get, the athlete and the
Warrior when 6'8 375lb enters the room. What was important was when the
learning was shared. The knowledge is of great value. The mindset it quite
2008 I've addressed audiences from C-Level leaders, VP's of
Business Development to larger teams of direct reports, to larger venues of
16,000 people. This keynote was crafted for the global real estate community as
they must rise from the catastrophic shift in the banking industries after the
subprime fall out. I caught everyone by surprise. This was the beginning of the
fall that would ultimately reduce the wealth in US by 45%. It's a serious time.
Much to serious for despair.
2010 After 10 years of NFL, my Silicon Valley roots, built a
business platform that continues to grow. 10,000,000 miles and 279 Fortune 500 later. Coming off the
2008 meltdown, everything has changed, it's a new game and a new landscape.
Everyone must rebuild, re-think bringing value to the market in this new
emerging digital world and social communities. Let's put it this way, if you
are reading aboutthis in a book
- it's old news. You've got to be out front and in the game to see where the
next big move is. It's Go big or go home.
This is just to give you a perspective of size and scale of
the front line of the NFL. The Left Tackle the blind side. They are the T-Rex
of the offensive line. It's not just the size -- it's what's operating on the
inside that makes them so extremely valuable in the NFL. In business, this same
tenacity, focus and command leadership is a must to outperform the competition
and win gains in market share. It's Eat What You Kill type mentality. Arnold is
what we call in the NFL, a puppy.
I never quite got use to the make up before we went LIVE.
Right in the middle of preparing your thoughts for a high powered energetic,
captivating opening -- delivered with elegance and ease...you get a face full
of dust. However when you must reach the consumers and buyers in the new
digital space -- it's a must. No complaints here. This is all serious business.