NFL week 1 has come to a close and the social media world had so much to say about each upset, injury, comeback, loss and victory but here at LW we took a little bit extra away from the week. On Thursday we watched the reigning Super Bowl champs win their season opener, on Sunday we watched a classic rivalry of the Bears and Packers leave people emotionally distraught, on Monday we saw Twitter tear apart an entire NFL team because they lost by 31 points to the youngest starting quarterback of the modern era. We have witnessed the impact that professional athletes have on the nation and how much people care about football but we are still missing the significance of what these athletes are truly doing.
We saw a lot of upsets and a lot of victory dances, but what we did not see were the locker room talks from both the winning teams and the losing teams, the fifth-year vets helping prep the rookies who made their debut. We did not see what the players who all had different types of days go home and study film for week 2. What we will see though are everyone’s opinions on these people, yes people, and their careers. We will see every meme, gif, tweet, and punchline that the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are suffering from right now and we will also see the ones praising the Green Bay Packers and LA Rams. What we don’t see is what is going on beyond the football field.
At the end of each NFL week these players need to put aside the best or worst game they just had and prepare for a new one in just a few days. They may have just lost by 31 points and have memes flooding the internet laughing at them for it, but they have to turn around and get back on the field for week 2 and try again. NFL players are often viewed as people who should be flawless, yet we always point out their mistakes. The rookie QB whose team won by 31 points is still being taunted for having his first ever pass result in a pick-six. Another QB had an incredible first half but is still being told what he could’ve done better and he is happy to hear it. We see them perform their jobs every week, we watch their post-game interviews, we see glimpses of their practices and details of their home life- but we still aren’t learning everything that they have to teach us.
As people if we have a bad day at work, sometimes we take a mental health day the next morning, we pour a glass of wine or crack open a beer, we take a walk and read a book to clear our mind- we do something human-like in order to compensate for that bad day or mistake. NFL players have to go to sleep and get back on the field the next day after reading all about their mistakes from the day before online from complete strangers and try again and train harder. They don’t have time to do the “human-like” things like take a day off, They push and push because that’s what their coaches, teammates, fans, and families expect and need from them. Sure, we can’t quit our day jobs every time we have a bad day and we sometimes can’t take the time we need, but we do it with a controlled audience. If we don’t want our spouse to know about our terrible day at work then we don’t tell them; NFL players do not have that luxury because their jobs are broadcasted on television and blasted across the internet.
NFL players are not superhuman and they should not be made a spectacle for making a mistake. Working with these talented humans teaches us that being talented comes with being a spectacle on good days and bad days. They cannot pick and choose when they want people to see them do their jobs and they cannot control whether or not people see their mistakes that day yet they find the courage, strength, and bravery to get back out there and try again.
-Mady Ruppert, Brand Strategy Intern