From the Gridiron to the Fairways

PGA Show Pannel

Pro football boasts 115 million fans who cheer on 32 NFL teams each Sunday in the fall. Golf attracts 107 million people who play, watch or read about the sport and its dozens of entertaining pros who play. So, what happens when the worlds of golf and football meet at the PGA Show? Yes, Super Bowl rings glittered, and stories flowed, but former players and coaches came together on the PGA Forum Stage to talk about the similarities in performing and coaching in both sports, and their post-game best practices as successful business entrepreneurs.

PGA Professional Brian Crowell channeled his inner Jim Nantz in moderating the roundtables including a sizzling Thursday session on entrepreneurial leadership with four-time Super Bowl champ Bart Oates, long time Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, Beasley Reese who caught passes for the Cowboys, Giants and Bucs, and Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas who played in four Super Bowls and was a perennial All Pro.

“I played for coaches who won more than 1,000 games and they taught me that you have to compete every day,” said Jaws, who now serves as CEO of Jaworski Golf. “They taught me not to be good, be great. It’s the same at my golf courses today.”

Bills star Thomas talked about the importance of seeing what is inside a person, sharing how Buffalo took a chance on his heart in choosing him out of Oklahoma State after a knee injury. “I’ve been willing to take a chance on people in business and in life.”

On Friday morning NFL coach Jim Caldwell and former defensive back Tracy Porter spoke to Crowell about coaching. Caldwell, who earned Super Bowl rings as part of the staffs of both Indianapolis and Baltimore, talked about the importance of both expertise and empathy in coaching. His description of coaching as a “service business” had many PGA Professionals in the audience nodding in agreement.

“You have to have the technical expertise to earn the trust of players of all abilities, but especially in the NFL which represents the best of the best, said Coach Caldwell. “But equally important was understanding what motivates players as individuals and how they employ their strengths and manage their weaknesses to achieve their goals.”

Porter echoed Caldwell’s comment about motivating individuals telling stories about lessons that mentors in both football and business instilled in him. “One of the great lessons I learned came while I was in management training at Johnson & Johnson,” recalled the former LSU star who played for Detroit and Baltimore. “My supervisor told me people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Porter (Chairman), Reese (CEO) and Oates (President) make up the leadership triumvirate of the NFL Alumni Association which boasts 5,000 members and 37 chapters which conduct dozens of charity golf tournaments each year, raising over $1 million in the process. This was their first PGA Merchandise Show, but all promised it would not be their last.

Did you miss the opportunity to attend one or more of these presentations on the PGA Forum Stage during the PGA Show? Access the recorded presentations from the 2020 PGA Show right here>>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *