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What You Can Have in Common with an NFL Rookie: You Too Can Go Where No One Has Gone Before

Johnny Manziel, the 22nd pick in this year’s NFL draft, went where no college player has gone before. Not in 78 years. The NFL draft started in 1936. Let’s do the Math. 78 years of college football players being drafted has resulted in 12,000 men who have played the game. And no one went where Johnny Manziel dared to go.

Conventional sports wisdom had Manziel going in the first five players in the draft. Strange things happen during a draft, so perhaps he would drop to the top ten. Once the draft started he was not the first player taken, he was not taken in the first five players or the first ten. As his draft status continued to plunge, he texted the Cleveland Browns quarterback coach. Here is his text, “I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to wreck this league together”.

The assistant coach then forwarded this text to the Browns head coach and also the owner of the team, Jimmy Haslam. At which time, the owner said, “Pull the trigger. We’re trading up to go get this guy. ” So Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel became the 22nd pick and began his journey to move from draft choice to backup quarterback to starting QB.


We’ll never know. It’s the conjecture of the road not traveled. What we do know is that today, all 214 players that were drafted this year had the same ability to text a coach of a team they had visited. As far as we know, with social media we know quite a bit today, no other player texted a team.

What that text said was that here was a player who wanted to play on this team. A player, who went the extra mile, figured out another way to say, I WANT THIS.

Yes, in years past players did not have the opportunity to text. But there is always the opportunity to use communication to say I WANT THIS JOB.

On the season finale of Shark Tank, a college sophomore begged Lori Greiner to invest in her. She literally begged. Lori expressed interest and then sat on the fence. The college student put it all out there, begging her to partner with her, to help her, to believe in the product. She got the deal. As a viewer, I don’t think she would have gotten that deal without being willing to bleed in front of both the sharks and a national audience. She found a way to show that she wanted it.

So the lessons are many:

1. Don’t just talk the extra mile, figure out how to go the extra mile. Talk can be cheap, most everyone will talk about working hard or wanting a client or a deal. Your challenge is to figure out how to stand out and show that you have a higher drive.

2. Be willing to bleed. The more you are willing to bleed in front of your audience, the more buy-in they will give you. You can’t bleed too much, it’s messy. But you need to figure out how to be vulnerable in a professional way.

3. Figure out how to use communication for you. Manziel texted, shark tank girl looked her audience in the eye and begged. There is an option that will work for you.

In the first 24 hours after the Manziel draft, more Manziel jerseys were sold nationwide than the last top quarterbacks combined. Over 2000 season ticket packages were sold by the Browns. Even billionaire owners and billionaire sharks want the people they select TO WANT IT. Figure out how to communicate that message for your audiences.

[Tweet “What You Can Have in Common with an NFL Rookie: You Too Can Go Where No One Has Gone Before via @lungar #BusinessTips”]

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About Leslie Ungar

A communication expert, Leslie ignites clients and audiences to believe in the singular conviction that they are their own best solution. She creates a personalized strategy to electrify the journey to performance potential through developing new communication patterns and implementing methods that make things happen and help executives, business owners, leaders, and sales teams prosper.…