On Sunday, September 22, 2019, New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones stunned the sportsworld with a masterful performance of resilience, confidence and mobility for his debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The facts are clear: Daniel Jones tied an NFL record for the 2nd largest comeback victory by a rookies quarterback in his debut. It was also the Giants’ largest comeback victory since 1970 (we’re talking about almost 50 years ago).
As an avid NY Giants fan, I greeted the Giants’ first draft choice this year with trepidation. Most people never heard of Daniel Jones and did not pay attention to Duke’s football program. But, Jones’ debut as the starting QB for the Giants have awakened fans and foes alike. “Who is he?”, “Is this sustainable?” or “Alright, good start. But that defense is terrible!” are the statements and questions you’ll hear. NFL analysts and commentators will use much airtime and ink opining about his performance and future. But, here are three lessons Daniel Jones taught us in one game:
LESSON #1: YOUR PRIVATE DISCIPLINE WILL HAVE A PUBLIC DEBUT.
Daniel Jones has been working hard behind-the-scenes, earning the respect of his coaches and teammates alike. Like veteran QB Eli Manning, Jones is not flashy or boastful. He lets his game speak for itself. His private discipline and work ethic was met with a public (and national) opportunity to let his work shine.
After watching Jones’ performance, I was reminded of the value of private discipline. When you make the decision to commit to focused work, you may not see the results right away, but you will see them. And there are no shortcuts. Work is work. When you hear “I’m on my grind”, the probability is extremely low that the public declaration matches reality. If you’re on your “grind”, you don’t have time to talk about it. Jones didn’t have to talk about it…he was about it.
LESSON #2: YOUR WORK WILL OVERCOME “THEIR WORDS”.
I love the Monday morning quarterbacking. I love the revisionist history. The re-interpretation of the historical record cannot be overstated. When Daniel Jones was drafted #6 by the Giants in April 2019, the commentators were quick to dismiss the draft pick over potential franchise QB Dwayne Haskins (from THE Ohio State University) as “crazy”, “uninformed” and downright “stupid”. To their credit, most commentators were not aiming to disrespect Jones’ game, but they did not offer much confidence in it either.
When Jones lead the Giants to a comeback 32-31 win over the Buccaneers, the narratives began to change. Apologies were offered. Reconsideration of Jones’ talent and skill began. But Jones’ skill never changed. It was simply on full display. Here’s the lesson: Let people talk. Stop trying to manage the opinions of others. While they talk, you keep working hard to improve, to grow and to reach your goals. Your work will overcome their words.
LESSON #3: STAY HUMBLE IN YOUR SUCCESS.
After the game, I watched Daniel Jones’ interview and taking questions from reporters. His humility and words of his successful debut game as a “team effort” was refreshing to hear. Sure, there are many NFL players and athletes that offer words that speak to teamwork and winning as a whole organization. But, most would not have blamed Jones for taking a victory lap or giving a “take that” attitude. But, that’s not Daniel’s character. And that’s why he is the toast of the town and a proud addition to the NY Giants roster.
When you reach success and fulfill your goals, stay humble. Like Jones, recognize that your success is linked to how you go about achieving success. I heard Pastor Dharius Daniels of Change Church once say, “There’s such a thing of being successfully successful.” Your success, staying power and respect given to your work is based on how you successfully pursue your goals and achievements.
Whether the NY Giants have a successful and woefully disappointing season, one thing is clear: Daniel Jones has a great future in the NFL and we can learn from the lessons he taught us just by playing the game. — RF