Imagine if you will you're Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, the first and second picks of the 2012 draft, both living up to expectations and then some, the pressure for the last 11 months that you have faced every day and now the season is over. Yes, you have media obligations, coaches' final evaluations and teammates to exchange personal information with but there will come a time, a moment of freedom that you have not felt for a year, maybe even more.
Both Luck, Griffin and you could easily include Russell Wilson have represented football and the NFL extremely well. But for the first two, it must be nice to get away from it all. NFL football has a high burnout rate. Even on your day off, it is not really a day off because preparing and living in anticipation is always present.
For these two quarterbacks, it has been present since the combine camps began that last week of May. From the combines, it transitioned to the personal workouts. Then the university Pro Day evaluations and one-on-one interviews. The Draft, Organized Team Activities, training camp, regular season, playoffs and then bang: nothing. For about a month, you can do what you want when you want without the threat of being graded or assessed.
Sometimes there are two kinds of employment. First, and maybe best, is the structured kind. You know what time you are to be at work and what time you are away from work and it leaves your mind. The second also involves knowing what time you are to be at work , what time you are to leave work but it is always on your mind. Both can pay well but the second type can burn a person out pretty fast.
In looking back on the season for both Luck/Griffin, the most surprising aspect of performance to me was the consistency. RG3 played the game until his body wore out. Andrew Luck played until Ray Lewis retired. Both took way too much punishment and next year will take significantly less due to their experience and both will be the "face of the franchise" for years to come. But doesn't it feel good not to have that pressure anymore, even if it is only for a month or more?
I don't even know if I would go back home and see friends because you know all they are going to do is talk football. What is this guy like? What is that guy like? Why did you do this when you should have done that? And here is the best one... You know what I think?
If you have a high-stress job that is always mentally present, it is a priority to leave it periodically as long as it does not hurt your work ethic and performance. And sometimes it is an uncomfortable feeling. After a week or two, you start feeling guilty that you're not at the practice facility. If your a "bubble player", you start feeling paranoid that your competition has now begun preparing while you're on vacation. Nothing can destroy a vacation more than that thought process, realistic or not.
After watching the Colts and Redskins this weekend, I could not help but flinch a couple of times after Luck and Griffin took a shot or two. Now is a good time because they don't have to anticipate the reality of the possibility for six months.
I have never considered football fun, but I was enamored by the challenge and now that the challenge is over for Luck and Griffin, it is time to have some fun. And at their age with a saving program well underway, you can have a lot of fun.