A Lesson From Tannehill

Potential. We all have it, but not everyone lives up to it. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback for Texas A & M in 2011, wasn’t a star, nor is he a star. Due to the lack of quarterback options in the 2012 draft, experts thought he might be a first-round pick. His abilities were rated:

Agility 8.5
Accuracy 6.0
Arm Strength 6.5
Decision Making 5.5
Field Vision: 5.5
Mechanics 6.5
Pocket Presence 7.0
Overall 6.5

There was room to grow. Of course, you would expect a newly drafted quarterback to have to develop. Within Tannehill’s story, there is a lesson to us all that we should never write people off and conditions matter.

Tannehill was drafted in 2012 by the Miami Dolphins 8th overall. They believed he had potential. Tannehill, in six years in Maimi, only had one season with a winning record. He threw between 12 and 17 interceptions per season (that’s almost one a game) with a low of 9 his last season. Tannehill also missed the whole 2017 season with a torn ACL. He only made the playoffs one year in that time and appeared to be a bust.

Ryan Tannehill was traded to the Tennessee Titans to serve as a backup quarterback for the struggling Marcus Mariota. It appeared that Tannehill was destined to be a backup for the rest of his career. He was written off.

How often do we write people off, blinded to their potential due to past performance? We look at metrics, analytics, the numbers, and we determine whether people are worth our time—are worth the chance. While there is merit to our usual behaviour, should we not ask ourselves, what if?

What if we invested the time?

What if their circumstances were different?

How can we change their story?

I like what Seth Godin says,

“The diamond cutter doesn’t imagine the diamond he wants. Instead, he sees the diamond that is possible.”

Can we see the diamond that is possible? Mike Vrabel, the coach of the Titans, did. You see, context is everything. The Dolphins were/are a gong show. Tannehill had three different head coaches during that time.

Vrabel, unimpressed with his star quarterback, benched Mariota. In week six, Tannehill became the Titans starter going 7-3 with 22 touchdowns (second highest of his career) and six interceptions (lowest of his career). This was followed by beating the defending champions in the wild card game and the best team in the league in the quarter-finals.

Ryan Tannehill, who was given up on, traded, put aside, is now thriving in a system that fits him. There is an offensive line that promotes his strength, pocket presence. He has a coach who believes in him.

Is there someone you have written off? 

Maybe it’s you who feels written off, or you’ve discounted yourself.

We need to learn the lessons from Tannehill. Find the right situation and focus on your strengths. 

It’s not about what you can’t do. It’s about what you can do. What is it that you can do? What is the strength that you have to offer? 

Don’t be modest. We all have at least one. 

Skills need to be fostered. Talent needs to be in context.

Einstein did graduate at the top of his class. In fact, he was the only one from his graduating class not to be hired out of college. Instead, Einstein worked for the Swiss Patent office. All the while, he still wrote papers, thought through problems, and never gave up.

Tannehill didn’t quit either. And this is the final lesson from Tannehill, Don’t Give Up.

Check out the resources used in this post

Photo from: https://clutchpoints.com/titans-news-tennessee-eyeing-long-term-deal-with-ryan-tannehill/

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