Every week nowadays, while watching a little football on TV, I am reminded in varying ways about things I have seen and experienced in the past and it sometimes boils down to this- great athletes are not necessarily great football players.
My first realization of this was in my brief experience as a college football coach, if only as a grad assistant for one season. I would watch these huge specimens workout, run sprints, participate in drills, and then realize that they weren't football players. Didn't have the instincts and couldn't make plays but they so looked the part that there they were, starting week after week...and losing.
During this same time period I would be sent on Thursdays to Memphis, or Chattanooga, or Atlanta to recruit. I would visit schools, talk to coaches, get film on prospects, go to games and see that the 6-4, 210 wide receiver with great speed couldn't catch a cold. Or, that the huge defensive tackle could barely get out of a stance. Yet, over here was this average size kid who was doing it all, busting his butt, running through people, making plays...yet I go back and tell everyone what I saw and they want the big, good-looking kid, the one who can't and never will play. But, man, he looks good in a uniform.
The NFL appears to me (and yes I am very much a novice at evaluating NFL talent) to be filling up with these great looking, very athletic non-football players. You see it every Sunday (I usually watch the Titans and it is quite apparent there). Guys who come out of the combines as top draft choices and yet have never really performed on the field.
And, on the other end, guys who come out of the combines labelled as "sure failures" who prove that it only really matters on the field, in competition, as it was meant to be before all of the seemingly thousands of "experts" came along to tell us who would succeed and who wouldn't. Players like Teddy Bridgewater
There is a college player at a state university now who is the best high school football player on the field, in games when it matters, that I have ever watched. It is painful for me to watch them play, knowing what he can do, and not seeing him get to do it. I just want to scream when I watch them.
I am getting frustrated with watching both college and pro football. All of the rule changes are making the game almost unwatchable for me and I hate that. I used to love to spend a Sunday (or Saturday) in front of the TV watching football. Watching non-football players "performing" at the top level of the game just doesn't cut it for me.