We like to KNOW!

People like to be “in the know” when they see others fail. I’ve been guilty of it and I know many of you have, too. I watch the news or read the headlines…and then spend some time talking about some “not-so” news worthy failure of one person. So…I’m going to break from Leadership and Tech this week and talk about my other passion…Football. I know! I know! Many of you don’t follow the sport but work with me here…it’s a story about unstop-ability…not the game.

The latest “failure” was listening to the now defunct non-interception record of Aaron Rodgers (that’s the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers…they are a football team…from the state of Wisconsin. No need to feel out of the loop!) that recently ended. If you watch any sports, or the sports section of the network news, you heard he threw an interception at home (that’s Lambeau Field) last week against the Rams (just go with me here…it’s another Football team!)

But here’s the thing…I don’t want to talk about THAT…I want to talk about his super human skill that made the record possible.

First…what record was ended?

It has been impossible to intercept a pass thrown by Rogers when they played at home. Over 1,000 days — specifically 1,048 days — passed and he threw 568 passes between interceptions. On Sunday, a simple tipped pass that was caught by James Laurinaitis ended the streak.

Simple. Over. In his post-game interview he said [quote distorted by memory] “Yeah, it had to end some time. Now I get to start again.”

Before I go on let’s look at what other amazing quarterbacks did during that same period:

  • Andrew Luck threw 18 interceptions at home.
  • Tom Brady threw 10 interceptions at home.
  • Peyton Manning and Drew Brees — 14 interceptions each.
  • Eli Manning (yes, Peyton’s little brother) — 26!
  • Aaron Rogers — Zero.

He’s probably a Robot. Maybe a Super Hero (but we don’t know because there are no more phone booths in which he can change…)

Aaron Rogers is an amazing athlete, leader and quarterback and arguably the best player to be in the NFL. But you know what? He almost didn’t play. He almost quit to become a lawyer.

He was born in Chico, CA. He was brought up tossing the football around with his dad, an ex-college football player and excelled playing baseball. The family moved to Oregon and then returned to Chico where Rogers played football for Pleasant Valley High School. There he set a single-season school record with 2,466 total yards in 2001 and passed for a total of 4,421 yards.

Despite his impressive stats, most colleges were not interested in him. He chalks it up to his small structure (only 5'10" and 165lbs at the time). He could only get attention as a Walk-on in Illinois. He rejected the offer and almost quit to go to law school.

A small community college noticed him and drafted him. I could go on and on with stats, but to cut to the chase, he set more passing records, was noticed by the Cal Bears, recruited and drafted to the NFL.

There is one more glitch…Rogers was expected to go early in the draft to the SF 49ers. They surprisingly passed him up for Alex Smith and Rogers dropped to #26 in the draft. Then he played as back up quarterback for three years! Yes, he got to watch one of the best quarterbacks in the game and learn…but it was still 3 years of sidelining.

Why am I obsessed with following this? Because the guy is not human! Seriously…he’s been knocked down and out so many times…he’s been shown the door…he’s be rejected…he’s been passed up…and he continues to set passing records!

I’m obsessed with watching him and learning from him because he shows how you can be the best even when others don’t see it. He didn’t set out to be one of the best. He just kept at it. Rogers worked a little harder, checked his ego at the door and got down to business.

You can check out all his impressive stats elsewhere but I’m fascinated with his personal story and the fact that he persevered even when no was watching.

It’s a great lesson for us all. In today’s fast paced technology and business world, we all seem to go after the thing that will be immediate and get us noticed. But that rarely, if ever, works. It’s the leaders that stick with the idea, the listen to people around them to improve themselves, products and services.