Tuesday, December 12, 2006

being a protector

Sam McKee says, "In today's NFL, the players grabbing the most headlines are quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. But according to Michael Lewis's book The Blind Side, the ones who grab the second-highest paychecks are left tackles.

In the book, Lewis explains the importance of these anonymous, but essential, offensive linemen. He traces their emerging importance back to the career-ending injury of star quarterback Joe Theismann on Monday Night Football in 1985. More than 17 million people watched as an incredibly athletic linebacker named Lawrence Taylor blindsided Theismann, breaking his leg.

Since most quarterbacks are right-handed, the left tackle's main role is to prevent his quarterback from being hit from behind, unseen. And with the next generation of athletic linebackers and defensive ends, it takes a special person to do it. Left tackles must weigh more than 300 pounds and have long arms to block, but they must also be quick on their feet. Today, teams are willing to pay for such a player. By 2004, the average salary of a left tackle in the NFL was $5.5 million a year. Only starting quarterbacks earned more."

As a person in a public position of leadership (or for anyone) it can at times feel like you're a target for getting tackled from the blindside. That's why I give thanks for the people who play left tackle in my life.

This week, in our staff meeting (for the pastors at Faith) we talked about trying to be better left tackles for those in our ministry areas. When people take potshots at your ministry partners and church family members, etc... think about your role as left tackle. Stand up and defend them.

It may not be the way to become a superstar on the cover of a magazine...but it will make you the kind of player that everyone wants on their team.