Things That Matter : It’s Aaron

I love my quarterback. (Even his fractured collarbone which will keep me up at night for the next 4-6 weeks.)

But more than that, I love people loving on other people. Which is why we are taking a break from the x’s and o’s today to spend a minute focusing on things that matter more than football.

I know we’ve talked about Aaron Rodgers’ work with the MACC fund before, but I had to show you these new videos from Season 2 of It’s Aaron. They’re just so good. It’s great to see someone with a platform highlighting awesome organizations like Operation Dream and Independence First, but it’s just as great to see amazing kids get their chance to shine.

Take a few minutes out to watch these today, and when you do, think about how you can make a similar impact in your own circle of influence – even if you aren’t Aaron Rodgers.  And for the record, let’s note that it appears as though Aaron Rodgers has a Yankee Candle air freshener in the vehicle he is driving. He’s just a normal guy. A normal guy with a car jar who happens to have a high profile job but still finds ways to do things that matter.

All of us normal people can find ways to help out, too. If you know of an individual (in the football world or otherwise) or an organization that is doing work that matters give them a shout out in the comments!

Off the Field : Charlie Batch

Charlie Batch earned one of our favorite moments of 2012 with his tenacious Week 13 win over the Ravens. He is currently a free agent, and while he hasn’t officially been cut or resigned to the Steelers roster, after they drafted QB Landry Jones it became fairly apparent that Batch won’t be returning next season after spending over a decade with the team.

Batch certainly won’t be bored should he find himself out of a job this season in Pittsburgh. His foundation, the Best of the Batch Foundation, will keep him plenty busy, with multiple initiatives that serve Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Aside from loving what they do to empower the community, I really love how they’re phrased their mission statement: “Best of the Batch Foundation provides financially challenged youth and their families with the purpose, desire, and resources to give their best efforts in all they do throughout their lives.” It’s getting to the core issue, giving hope and help to families who would otherwise need to give their best effort to simply making it through each day.

My favorite outreach (and there are a LOT) might be the Best of the Batch club, which rewards students who demonstrate excellence in academics and extra-curriculars with a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Charlie Batch. How cool is that?!

The foundation also has a really creative holiday campaign. Charlie and other Steelers teammates sign autographs for fans during the Batch-A-Toys drive in exchange for new, unwrapped toys. Over 25,000 have been given away so far!

Here’s a peek into this past year’s giveaway:

Thousands of kids have been impacted by the work of the Best of the Batch Foundation (included a few you might know!). If Charlie isn’t on a field this fall, he’s sure to be found furthering that impact even more.

(Also – two thumbs way up to the Best of the Batch Foundation for having one of the most beautiful, functional athlete charity websites I’ve come across so far. Job well done!)

Off the Field : Marcus Trufant

A chapter has come to a quiet close in Seattle. Marcus Trufant, one of the best corners to ever play for the Seahawks and a staple of the franchise for the past 10 years, signed with the Jaguars last Tuesday.

Seahawks fans know Trufant as an exceptional player and an even better person. Just read this article from the Seahawks website; it couldn’t be brimming with more praise! And for good reason.

Marcus Trufant started his charity, the Trufant Family Foundation, when he was drafted by the Seahawks in 2003. He had a passion to help the community he was born and raised in – Tacoma, Washington, ironically enough! – and that passion has paid dividends for countless for children and their families. The Trufant Family Foundation provides college scholarships, youth camps, and fitness programs, as well as supports local and national organization.

Side note: the Trufant Family also has a firm foundation in the National Football League, with all three Trufant brothers currently on NFL rosters. Marcus is now with the Jags, Isaiah plays for the Jets, and Desmond was just drafted by the Atlanta Falcons.

Want to get to know them better? Check out this great video they did with a local elementary school:

Trufants, you guys are good people.

Marcus will certainly be missed on the field in Seattle next season, but he won’t be missed in the city. His hometown will still be well-supported through his influence and the great work done by his foundation.

Film Room (But Really…Not) : A Bad Lip Reading

Just so we’re clear here: this is a total cop out. I’m not even going to try to trick you into thinking otherwise. This week is full of life but short on time for me, so instead of writing an actual film room post, I’m giving you this…which might be even better.

For real.

Here’s one of the best things you’ll see all week, a Bad Lip Reading of NFL moments:

Let’s break it down, shall we? These were my Top 5 moments:

  1. Jim Harbaugh’s “I want cake” might be my favorite, if only because it seems like something that has a high probability of actually happening.
  2. I thought that the first Tom Brady moment, “I found Fido!” was my favorite. And then the second one came. The high five to “I’m white!” gets me every time.
  3. Next on the list is a tie between the Derek Cox opera clip and Joe Staley telling Colin Kaepernick, “Hey, help me burn that old man.”
  4. Peyton Manning and the potion – which was expertly delivered by the lip reader!
  5. Pete Carrol, keeping kids off drugs.

Ok guys, your turn. Favorite part? Plus a petition to do this again next season?

Off the Field : Tim Tebow

football, players, tebow

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Even if Tim Tebow never achieves any more success in the NFL than he already has (and for the record: he will), he’s still one of the best players to highlight off the field. We could basically do this feature on him every week for the rest of the off-season and only scratch the surface of what he’s done to impact the lives of others – especially kids.

For most, it’d be enough that he flies a child facing a life-threatening illness in for every game and gives him or her the royal treatment through his W15H Program. But it’s not just for every game, it’s for every game and then some, cumulating in 25 total trips funded by the program.

And that’s only one facet of his Foundation.

The Tim Tebow Foundation is also building playrooms for kids in select children’s hospitals around the world. And why stop at a playroom when you can build a whole hospital? That’s just what he’s doing in the Philippines in partnership with CURE International. TTF also supports orphans and supports those who do things like supporting orphans through the Team Tebow initiative.

But that’s not all! I feel like I’m going into informercial mode here and I’m not even sorry. Because it’s the stuff that he does that isn’t intended to be publicized that makes him a genuine class act. Like calling local high school student Matt Hardy after he was hit by a drunk driver in a crash that killed both his girlfriend and teammate. Or pushing a 7 year old with cerebral palsy around the field during pre-game warmups. Even things like taking the time to get off his plane while it was refueling and surprise the also-tarmac’d  Wichita State Shockers on their plane with an inspirational pep talk.



For even more examples, check out these videos:

Regardless of what happens with his on-the-field future, it’s good to know that Tim Tebow will be doing things like this off-the-field for the rest of his life. And isn’t that something to cheer for? I think so.

History Lesson : Tom Brady’s Draft Story

It's easy to think that Tom Brady was drafted first overall to much fanfare, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Come learn the full story today!

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We’ve focused primarily on ancient history in these posts so far, but today we’re going back to fairly recent history.

Do you know who Tom Brady is? OF COURSE you do! Even if you don’t know a single thing about football and stumbled on this website completely by accident and are looking to leave as soon as possible (but don’t! stick around!), you know who Tom Brady is. That’s because Tom Brady will be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best quarterback, in NFL History. He transcends football; he’s living legend.

(Hyperbole hyperbole hyperbole.)

(But…truth truth truth.)

What you may not know about Tom Brady is that he did not get drafted #1 overall. Not #2 or #3, either. Tom Brady waited through 6 rounds to be drafted after 6 other quarterbacks and 198 other players. He was draft 199th overall by the Patriots, despite his lackluster scouting report:


Tom Brady Positives: Good height to see the field. Very poised and composed. Smart and alert. Can read coverages. Good accuracy and touch. Produces in big spots and in big games. Has some Brian Griese in him and is a gamer. Generally plays within himself. Team leader.

Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.

Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength and mobility, but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but will not be for everyone. 


I love that. LOVE that. Tom Brady has since proved nearly every negative wrong. (I say nearly only because homeboy is never going to be mobile. He can leave that to Colin Kaepernick and call it a day.) Was the scouting report wrong? Or did Tom Brady just work that much harder than everyone else? Probably both – but definitely the latter. He started his first season as the 4th quarterback on the depth chart. By season’s end, he was second and in the following season, he started a few games after starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured. He wasn’t spectacular right off the bat. But he did enough so that the Patriots never looked back; he’s been their starter ever since.

And he’s only led the team to 5 Super Bowls and won 3 of them. No big deal.

One of my favorite documentaries ESPN has ever done was The Brady 6, the story of the 6 quarterbacks taken before Tom Brady in the 2000 Draft. Here’s a peek into what he went through on Draft Day:

I just love his story. I can’t get enough of it. Anyone who has ever been told that you aren’t good enough, aren’t the right fit, won’t ever make it (ahem…Tim Tebow): take note. It’s possible.