Philadelphia Eagles Go Inside The Mind Of Joe Theisman

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Nov 23, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) talks to head coach Chip Kelly during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Go Inside The Mind Of Joe Theisman

It was a typical Seattle day- a grey overcast sky with an occasional curtain of raindrops cascading on flowers blooming incredibly early.  Tulips, daffodils, cherry blossoms – the air was filled with a myriad of blossom smells.  It was a good day to shop, to jog, to be outside.

It was a tough day to awaken at 6 AM.  Flying tires me out.  Flying in to have a 7 AM to 9 PM schedule the previous day compounded the matter.  Now, at 6 AM, I was trying to shake the cobwebs from my head and asking myself why the alarm was making that obnoxious klaxxon sound at me.

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Ah yes.  This was the day I’d waited for.   The keynote speaker for the Washington Alaska chapter of HFMA was none other than former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theisman.   I had flown for many reasons, but certainly one included hearing the former starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins, who had once been the third highest paid players in the NFL, who has a Superbowl ring, speak on this morning.  In short, as a writer representing the Philadelphia Eagles, it was my duty to go inside the mind of Joe Theisman and get his opinions and ideas about any number of current events regarding the Eagles.

I entered the room with was configured with rows of bench tables and chairs set up closely to seat everyone who attended this keynote speech.  As I awaited his arrival, I sipped my third cup of coffee and sketched out some questions in the hopes that I might be able to pose them following the speech.  It was the first speech of the day, and those typically are some of the best – your mind is alert, your work worries have not yet started to nag at your sub-conscience.  So there I sat, practicing my “I truly AM interested” look even though I was waffling on the fence of whether the speaker would have anything of value worth listening to.

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  • Within minutes, the man entered the room and walked deliberately to the front of the conference room.   It was clear that he had done this before.   It was also clear to me that this was going to me a seminar I would be glad I’d attended.  By the time he reached the front of the room, he casually picked up his microphone and asked all of the persons in the room a simple question:

    "“What price are you willing to pay to be special? It’s all about change. Change is a powerful force, and studies have shown that change causes different reactions in each of us. For the Fearful- change causes you to think that things will worsen. Hopeful – change causes you to think that things will work out somehow. But, to the confident, Change is simply a challenge to make things better.” – Joe Theisman, 26 Feb 2015"

    And with that opening, the stage was set.   I was listening, as were the 200 plus other persons in the room   We listened as he discussed the Monday Night Football game play that changed his life forever.  He discussed football legends who had shaped his career:  Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs– whose reaction to his season ending injury was simply “You’ve really put me in a tough spot, Joe!”;  New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells – who preached relentlessly about discipline and direction; and finally New England head coach Bill Belichick  – who creates an environment, an expectation, and execution.

    He filled his time with great life experiences and wonderful anecdotes that gave each of us something to apply to our own set of challenges in life.  Finally he left us with two thoughts:

    "“You can never succeed if you believe that you are doing it alone. And finally, Nothing is lonelier than success unshared.” – Joe Theisman, 26 Feb 2015"

    And then the audience stood and applauded this man who willingly shared the success and failures of his life to benefit those who had made the time to listen. But to my surprise, he lingered in the room and was one of the most approachable and down to earth sports figures I have encountered. So, brazenly, I stepped forward to ask some questions from one of the NFL’s own about Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles.