In March of 2008 I was called to the office of the Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Head Coach. Three days into the annual draft meetings with my college scouting staff I was told I would no longer be the General Manager, nor employed by the Denver Broncos. The real story as to why I was let go has never been told, though it intertwines through other personalities (both past and present) within the National Football League and sits on the hard drive in my computer just waiting to be released. I’ve lived with this demon for the better part of five years now, disappointed with the industry and the very game that I gave sixteen years of my life to.
Those that work in the NFL understand that you do GIVE your life to it. There is no off-season, there is no down time. It never leaves you. You think about what needs to be done and what has yet to be accomplished, even while trying to enjoy what little “vacation” is afforded in a tiny little July window. It’s difficult being on the outside and considering yourself an insider.
I approached the profession in the same manner I did my Air Force career, that was to do the job I was responsible for and not worry about the next steps. So as I see GM positions go to less qualified individuals, as I see new TV analysts hired from the ranks with records nowhere close to mine as front office executives, as I feel a bit betrayed by my own Bronco family, and as I feel the game that I gave sixteen years to somehow whizzing by and not even caring to give a passing glance . . . it’s easy to get down.
And then comes along a reminder, kind of like one of those “V8 moments” where you get hit upside the head and called back to reality. Without all of that happening I wouldn’t be here now, I wouldn’t have started TheFootballEducator.com, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reach out to fans across the League that I didn’t have time for when I was “worrying about what needed to be done next”, I wouldn’t have written a book, nor started a radio show. There’d be much more lost than what initially was.
I read this post by Ali ‘Conig’ Hubbard and had one of those “V8 moments”. I’m going to again enjoy football for all the reasons that I once did while playing high school football in the heat & humidity of southeast Texas, as a young Houston Oiler fan in the “Luv Ya Blue” days, as wishbone fullback for the Air Force Academy Falcons. Football hasn’t left me, it never did. I’ve just been giving it too much of a passing glance. Can’t wait for the 2013 season!
The Football Educator
Algebra, Pro-Sports, and a Guy From Wisconsin
By Ali Conigliaro-Hubbard at Hergame
Recently I made one of those life decisions to conquer a fear that has haunted me since I was in the 9th grade. For so many years I couldn’t imagine any reason why it would be important to address this fear. But as my years in the business world progressed, I started to see why it just couldn’t be avoided. I found ways to fake it, but privately, it haunted me. So this year, I came clean, and I finally decided to do something about it. And I decided to conquer: advanced algebra.
So this week I was sitting with Jim, my math teacher, and he told me a great little sports story I thought was worth sharing. Regardless of what I’m doing, the topic of professional sports usually comes up. I can find a way to correlate it to almost anything. And my math teacher is originally from Wisconsin. So I asked him – in my best Wisconsin accent of course – if he was a Packers fan, and he said, “My brother is, but I gave up professional sports a long time ago.” And here is the story he told:
Back in the 1950s, Milwakee had a professional baseball team called theMilwaukee Braves. As a young boy, I rooted for them – and in 1957, they won the World Series against the New York Yankees! Soon afterward in 1966, they picked up and left for Atlanta.
In 1959, the Green Bay Packers hired (Offensive Coordinator from the championship-winning New York Giants) one of the greatest head coaches in the history of the game, Vince Lombardi. The team ended up winning 6 NFL Championships, and then 2 Super Bowls: Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. Now you know why it’s called The Lombardi Trophy! In 1969, Coach Lombardi left Wisconsin and headed to Washington to coach the Redskins. That lasted one year. Coach Lombardi passed away from Colon Cancer in 1970.