It’s been almost three years since I’ve strapped on a pair of shoulder pads and put on a helmet, but every time I hear the pads pop somewhere, I still get the same chills down my spine and little boy-like excitement that I did then. Coming to grips with the fact that I will probably never take the field again as a player is a tough pill to swallow for me, as the game has given me so much and helped define me as the man that I am today. So with football season around the corner, I present a tribute — if you will, a love story — about the things that this great sport teaches thousands of young men all over the country.

1. Physical Toughness

There are not many people that are willing to be physically pushed to the limits every single day practically year round. Whether it is getting stronger in the weight room, doing hill sprints, suicide runs, pushing the blocking sled around, running routes over and over or enduring hit after hit every single day, football players are some of the toughest guys around. They learn that in order to be successful, you gotta sweat and bleed for it, which ties into the next attribute.

2. Mental Toughness

In addition to being big, strong and fast, a football player has to be mentally ready to endure the everyday grind of getting up early in the morning, eating a light breakfast and getting ready to bang heads all day. It is the understanding that you need to make yourself and the team better at all costs. It is being able to bounce back after a bad loss, and take it to your opponent the very next week. It is NOT giving up and quitting, when everything inside of you is telling you to quit. Anyone can be positive and enjoy being a part of the team when things are going well and you’re winning games, but the true mark of a man comes in how he responds to adversity, when things aren’t going so well and the team is struggling. Be that guy who accomplishes the mission when the odds are not in your favor.

3. Camaraderie

If you played football your entire life, like I did, chances are that you’ve been playing with the same group of guys since you were 4 feet tall! These guys have seen you at your best and at your worst. They know your physical capabilities and what you’re truly made of. Some will be your friends for life, and will always be there for you. Collective suffering and triumphing together creates special, inseparable bonds between people, and the gridiron is the perfect place for that. A true band of brothers.

4. Unforgettable Memories

While much of life is all about bettering yourself and being the most successful individual you can be, it is also a team game. People need to work together to accomplish their goals and help each other succeed. Football teaches that as one of its first lessons. You cannot win a game with 11 individuals. You can only win as one team, united under a common purpose, drive, and passion. If one man doesn’t do their job, the entire team suffers as a result, so everyone must put forth their best effort in order to achieve the desired result.

5. Teamwork

While much of life is all about bettering yourself and being the most successful individual you can be, it is also a team game. People need to work together to accomplish their goals and help each other succeed. Football teaches that as one of its first lessons. You cannot win a game with 11 individuals. You can only win as one team, united under a common purpose, drive, and passion. If one man doesn’t do their job, the entire team suffers as a result, so everyone must put forth their best effort in order to achieve the desired result.


Football is America’s game, and it produces quality individuals who can take on life in a way that will better them as well as those around them. Great game, but even better men.