The Leadership of Jameis Winston: A commodity more important than gold

Leadership is likely the most valuable commodity that an individual can offer any organization. When leadership is natural, it elevates everyone to perform at a higher level and can sustain enthusiasm under difficult circumstances. When my favorite football team drafted Jameis Winston, I was a little disappointed because I was rooting for Marcus Mariota. I thought the Mariota athleticism would be a better fit in Tampa Bay than a pocket passer like Winston. Considering that the Tampa Bay coaches had watched a lot more film on Winston than I had I trusted their judgment to take the Florida State Heisman Trophy winner. After watching Winston in practice and in three of four pre-season games, I am happy with the decision and would like to welcome Winston to the Buccaneer family. CLICK HERE TO REVIEW WHY I LIKE THE BUCS. It is obvious that Tampa Bay wasn’t just looking for an arm at quarterback, they were looking for a leader and between Winston and Mariota, it was certainly Jameis who was the better natural leader. That will be important years from now when both kids are older and less physically agile. Leadership always trumps skill, and after watching this segment of Jon Gruden’s QB Camp it is obvious that Winston is oozing with leadership.

Football for a lot of people is a way of life. There are times during the business week where talk about football becomes quite animated. For me it’s just a game, not much different from a game of X-Wing by Fantasy Flight Games. In my world they are all just as important. Football is just one of my entertainment options. The purpose of the game is to get a football to move across the field of play to score points. It’s a game invented by capitalism for the purpose of referencing American lifestyles in a game format. But what is more interesting to me is the displays of leadership that come out in exceptional athletes under pressure. That pressure would not exist but for the rules of the game, a last-minute touchdown throw as time runs out to win the game. Throwing a 22 yard bomb on a 4th and 14 in the fourth quarter. Or a sack on a 3rd and 2 to stop a drive and protect a lead. Leadership under pressure is what I enjoy most about football.

As many know I have been a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team for quite a long time. I enjoy watching them even during bad seasons because the organization is always trying to win. The Glazer organization is constantly changing things to find the right ingredients to make a winning team. Last year they only won two games, but I paid attention to every one of them, and enjoyed them for the entertainment they provided to me. I knew the Buccaneers blew the last game of the season last year with the Saints on purpose to get Winston in the draft, so I trusted they knew what they were doing. Their season was already over, but they had a chance to pick their quarterback, and they picked Jameis Winston because of his excellent leadership ability.

I became sold on Winston watching him in the pre-season fight through some tough times. He won me over when he stated to Jon Gruden that he always felt like he could win a game even if the score was 50-0 against him. I understand that thought process as I also am the same way. To my way of thinking there is never a “surrender,” there is never a problem that can’t be overcome, and in the game of football, that is a more valuable attribute than having the ability to scramble out of the pocket to buy four more seconds of play. In the long run, Winston’s leadership will be much more valuable to fans of the Buccaneers organization and that was obvious after the pre-season concluded.

When it is natural for a young person to understand that he needs to look other people in the eye and elevate their personal performance on an individual level, it is a trait that cannot be taught. Charisma under pressure is a value that is more valuable than all the gold in the world, because such leadership ability is rarer. The tenacity to never get down when ominous forces are present is far more important than any physical ability. And that is what Tampa Bay has decided to invest in. Not just a football player, but a charismatic leader who can elevate those around him even when the bright lights are off in the stadium. A real leader is one even when they are alone and think nobody is looking.

I’ve been known to have large doses of that leadership ability. It’s not like it’s a secret. It has come natural all my life. My natural optimism for life is something that most people don’t understand. They believe that its contorted enthusiasm rooted in false bravado. They think that because they don’t possess it themselves. What I have and obviously Jameis Winston has, is the ability to never see defeat even when the world is collapsing around observation. And people respond to that type of tenacity because behind such people, even though their methods may appear reckless, is safety and opportunity.   Tampa Bay will go to another Superbowl behind Jameis Winston not because of his arm or physical abilities—but because of his leadership.

So I’d like Jameis to know that at least I’m happy he’s a Tampa Bay Buc. I will be a fan of his even if he doesn’t win a single game this year. He will eventually. I am a fan of the Bucs because of their character, not necessarily the points on the board, because to me football is just a game. But the type of men that the game makes is more important than what happens between four quarters of play on a Sunday afternoon. For me watching Jameis under pressure and exhibiting great leadership will be more fun than what ends up in the win/loss column. Which is the reason I’m happy that the Buccaneers picked him as their top draft selection—they didn’t just get a great player—they acquired a leader, and that will help the entire city of Tampa be just a bit better as a result.

Rich Hoffman


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