If Six Was Nine

In all of their infinite wisdom, the brain trust of professional football scouts chose Jack Thompson, Phil Simms, and Steve Fuller in the first round. To determine this decision, they relied upon a system that rated Thompson an eight on a scale of nine. Thompson’s eventual impact as an NFL QB would place him somewhere between Lady Gaga and Urkel. Fuller should have stuck to selling brushes door to door. In fairness, only Simms more than earned his place as a worthy top choice.

The 82nd pick in the third round that year in the NFL draft was a little known player named Joe Montana. Despite countless comebacks and numerous triumphs over adversity throughout his high school and college careers, the scouts rated him a six. It’s rumored that those same scouts resigned after that draft, and eventually became the financial managers for M.C. Hammer.

This slight faux pas of talent assessment shrinks to Palin level IQ when one considers yet another six. Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger, Chad Pennington, and Spergon Wynn comprise the group known as “The Brady Six.” These QBs were all drafted ahead of Brady, who didn’t get chosen until late in the sixth round. Whereas the “Montana Three” produced a Super Bowl Champion and MVP in Simms, the Brady Bunch failed worse than Scarface trying to pass a piss test for drugs. All scouts that were involved in this draft were last seen building bomb shelters on the eve of Y2K.

The cogent point in both cases is twofold. The inept experts screwed the pooch on both ends—not a nice visual. They walked by two Ferraris to get to the Ford Pintos. Conversely, Hall Of Famer Montana and guaranteed first ballot inductee Brady saw their disrespect from these coconuts as a monstrous motivator.

They spent zero seconds claiming to anyone but themselves how far superior their talents were to those who were professionally perceived to be better players. They chose hard work over nursing their bruised egos. They were painfully aware of their below average evaluations. Their every leaping, running, jumping, and throwing measurements had them destined to be sales reps. They had heard this chorus of their inadequacies sung to them since they laced up their first pair of cleats. They filed it right next to thinking, “That’s why God gave me a middle finger.”

If these parallels to poker are still escaping you, maybe you should consider foregoing your poker endeavors for a career in NFL scouting. Although football is a sport and poker is a game, they share multiple common elements. Your legacy can only be written by you. Others will always speculate and judge, but the most crucial attribute that can be possessed by any prospective player of any sport or game, can never be measured by anybody but you. Euphemistically speaking, that quality is heart. It explains how so many winners from every arena in life have overcome astronomical impossibilities.

If you’re the bird brain who is telling the table how great of a poker player you are, or if you are the whiner who “never gets a break,” your chosen destination is defeat. Stop wondering why the first of the month is always an adventure in treasure hunting phone calls that you make as you scramble for the rent.

If you have a satellite dish in your head that receives criticism and nay saying from others and dutifully accepts it, dump the dish and try using a coat hanger for antennae. Success is subjective. Failure is an unmistakable fact.

Mark Brown
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