“Back when I was your age…”
It’s a phrase uttered all too often probably because our world is changing at a rapid pace.
I usually start the sentence and then finish it with something like, “My mom had to yell at me to get off the internet so she could use the phone.”
That’s what is going on in the NFL too.
If you placed a bet in favor of wild and loud-mouth players like Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe never using that phrase, you would be down a few bucks.
During a roundtable discussion with the 2011 Hall of Fame Class, led by Adam Schefter, the topic of how the game of football has changed since they played came up.
“The game itself hasn’t really changed. It’s the people that are in it and what they do that have changed,” Chris Hanburger said. “In today’s game there’s just too much celebrating going on.”
Marshall Faulk agreed. “It’s a mind set. When we played, it was about being great. They play now to be rich.”
The topic of vying for the public’s attention off the football field doesn’t make sense to the Hall’s most recent inductees.
“They play to be famous. They want reality shows. I’m a football player. I realize that whatever attention comes outside of football is because of football,” Sharpe said. “Your success is what you do on the field. Guys now, they’re more known for tweeting.”
Arguably the most vivacious and outgoing personality in the league at one-time would disagree. Right?
“They pay them so much that they don’t want to work to be great because after one contract, if they manage their money correctly, they could retire,” Deion Sanders said. “One thing they don’t understand is that when the spotlight is on you, it shows all your blemishes.”
The league’s former players have tried to remedy the situation by offering guidance, but many current players just don’t want to listen.
“I’ve tried to reach out to a couple of guys, and they’re just not looking to go to the next level. They’re happy with where they are,” Richard Dent said shaking his head.
“They don’t want to learn from the Elders…I have a problem when guys don’t want to listen, and they don’t want to be the best. I have a serious problem with that,” Deion Sanders said.
With individual spotlights shining in all different directions, Hanburger offers some insight into how success in the NFL blooms.
“The guys that play now are huge, quick, fast, very talented. I will say this. You could take a well-coached team and you could put them up against a Pro Bowl team. The well-coached team will beat the Pro Bowlers each and every time.”
Translation: Back when I was your age, this was a team sport and players played for rings rather than their own ringtones.