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You have to have a shot that you can trust in all circumstances, no matter how nervous you are. You have to have one shot.

says, “You’re not practicing the right stuff. You don’t practice the right stuff in football, and you don’t practice the right stuff in golf.” And he walks down on the putting green, and says, “Let’s start talking about football.” And what he taught me that day with the drop, I have taught hundreds of coaches around the country, who have then taught thousands of kids. It’s one of our core tenants of how we teach footwork at Elite 11, the Nike camp we run. And it was something that no coach had ever taught me. Many coaches, to this day, go, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never thought about it like that. It makes so much sense.” So we did the football first, while I was in my golf spikes, and then we got out there and started working on my golf swing, and my short game. His big message that day was he used to call me par shooter. He says, “You’ve built your whole game around shoot- ing par. Are you comfortable shooting par?” And I said, “No, I want to be able to go low.” And he said, “If you want to go low, here are the things you’ve got to do.” And it was the next year that I won Black Diamond, and shot 67-66 and beat Rick Rhoden in a shootout. Two years after that, I did the 67-62. John had a lot to do with getting my mind wrapped around be- ing better than I was at the time. + + +

Are there any secrets you can share? The biggest thing is you have to have a shot that you can trust in all circum- stances, no matter how nervous you are. You have to have one shot. For me, it’s a bullet cut. Kind of a hold-on cut. I don’t lose much distance, and I know it’s not going left.

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Winning the Super Bowl must be up there with your favorite NFL memories? It is, but my favorite memory is the Titans game Week 11 from that season (in 2000). I almost lost us the game. We were moving the ball, and all we have to do is not turn the ball over, and we kick the game-winning field goal. I threw an 87-yard pick-six. We get the ball back with 2:30 left and we get in

the huddle, and every guy looked at me and said, “OK, now you get to be the hero.” And we went down and I threw a touchdown with 29 seconds left on the clock to win. I think that launched that run as

much as anything. I think you truly have to be at the bottom, and pull yourself out. I always say confidence isn’t previous success, confidence is overcoming tough stuff. Overcom- ing that is what gave my teammates confidence in me, and we knew we weren’t going to get beat again. (The Ravens won their last 11 games en route to their first Super Bowl.)

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You won 15 NFL starts between the Ravens in 2000 and the Seahawks in 2001. But then you sprained your MCL in preseason before the 2002 season and tore your Achilles in Week 8. Do you ever look back at that time and think about what might have been if you stayed healthy? I try not to get into the what-ifs. I can identify why I had that success. It’s a great golf parallel. There’s something to just getting the ball in the hole. You hit a bad shot, you can recover, hit a good chip, and still get the ball in the hole with a par. I’ve always been pretty good in not getting caught up in the how in golf. I learned that in football. Early in my career, it was so much about the how. If we weren’t doing it the way we thought we were going to do it, then our chances of winning were going to be significantly less. But I realized my last year in Tampa that’s not true. There’s something just about winning. There are a lot of ways to win

football games. One of the biggest ways is to learn how to not give it away. By doing that, your teammates always feel like they have a chance, you play close games, and they make big plays in big moments. That’s what those 15 straight wins were about.

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Did you always know you were going to become a football analyst? I had no idea. I was in Cleveland, and our PR guy kept saying, “You’ve got to do some TV. You’re really good at this.” And I kept telling him, “No, I don’t want

to be in TV. I don’t like those guys.” Through some different circumstances, I had the chance to go to Seattle, where I had just played, and cover the Seahawks for a couple of weeks. What I learned was how the football fan was uneducated in terms of what was really going on out on the field. + + +

Football is by far the most popular sport, but its fans seem to know the least about how it is played. Yes. And that’s what I started seeing. I thought, “Wow, this is a really good opportunity to teach them, and just be kind of a coach to the fan.” Everybody thought I was going to be a coach. I was offered a ton of jobs, but I didn’t want to do that from a lifestyle standpoint. But I thought, “Maybe I can just teach the audience.” That’s the approach I started taking. Some people hate it, some people love it, but that’s what I try to do.

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How much has fantasy football changed how the sport is consumed? It’s massively changed everything. And it’s not just the daily leagues. I started seeing it 10 years ago. I think the easiest way to ex- plain it is it has changed the pageantry from being team-based to individual. In college, there is so much pageantry around the sport, because it is about colors, numbers, the name of the front, the mascot, the fight song, the stadium, the culture. The NFL has become about people. I remember going into New York as a Seahawk, and Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander are getting off the bus, and these guys with Giants jerseys are going, “Matt! Shaun! We’ve got you in fantasy this week. Hope you have a great game! Hope you lose, but hope you have a great game!” We’re playing the Giants, and they’re rooting for Matt and Shaun to go off. + + +

What is your favorite golf course? It’s hard, but at the end of the day, my favorite is Cypress Point. Pine Valley is up there, and Cal Club is up there, and SF Club is up there, and Ballybunion is up there. Shinnecock is up there. But if I had one round of golf to play before I died, it would be at Cypress Point.

SUMMER 2015 / NCGA.ORG / 39

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