[Note: While this post is football-related, it translated to any sport… and I tie the story back to money… I promise]
I’ve always believed there is something we can learn from everyone. This past weekend professional sports organizations may have learned a lot from a 12-year-old young gentleman in the stands football game… and he didn’t have to say a word.
To understand where I’m going with this, let me set the scene a bit. The story starts with one player for the New England Patriots, Randy Moss. While no one has ever really doubted his talent, questions about his work ethic have followed him through his career. Two weeks ago he had one his worst games. A player on the opposing team said Moss “gives up a lot” and that he “laid it down during the game.” The game was so bad that it’s garnered a whole paragraph on his Wikipedia page. Almost every analyst opined on the subject (with a vast majority agreeing that Moss didn’t play hard) until it because one of the biggest stories of the NFL that week.
Moss, as you might expect, probably didn’t take it so well. He didn’t say anything, but instead let his coach and quarterback defend him. Most people ignored their biased testimonies. After all, the coach and quarterback are supposed to support their teammates. And that’s where the story stayed until the next game (last week).
In that game Moss didn’t set the world on fire by getting a lot of huge stats. However, when the Patriots needed him, he scored. After Moss’ third touchdown of the day (an unusually great day for any player in the NFL), the referees reviewed the video to make sure he crossed the goal line. While they were doing that, the Jumbotron caught a 12-year-old, Josiah Shumaker, wearing a Randy Moss mask in the stands. And here is a YouTube video of that interaction.
What you are seeing here is the young man performing Randy Moss’ signature touchdown celebration. He’s doing it so well that the crowd got excited and Randy mocks him with a real version of the celebration. Players on the sideline are laughing and all the talk of the previous week disappeared from everyone’s minds.
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a professional sports player interacting with a fan via a Jumbotron before, but the timing was impeccable. While Moss would have been in good spirits with his three touchdown day, anyway this is what really lifted his spirits. He admitted that his last performance “wasn’t too hot” and that having the fans and the stadium behind him meant a lot to him. Sometimes I forget that while these professional athletes are extremely talented, they are people with feelings too.
So now that I’ve got all the sappiness out of the way, let’s get to what you came here for… the tie-in with money. Professional sports is big business. If your Hall of Fame player isn’t performing, there is the potential that millions of dollars will be wasted. Now I’m sure this wasn’t staged (or am I?), but if they wanted to how much would have cost the Patriots to stage it? It could be done for under $100. If you own a sports team and have a struggling star, why not try something like this, right?
My Randy Moss moment? I was waiting for the bus in Minneapolis the day he got arrested for hitting a traffic cop. My friends were shocked when I actually defended him (I didn’t recognize him, nor did I see the altercation–just him getting arrested. But man, that traffic cop was obnoxious).