Is There Such a Thing as Zen in the NFL?

NEW YORK – The strength of the pack is the wolf. This is a very old military term that explains how the strength of a unit, depends upon the strength of each individual within the unit. The military and the NFL have many similarities to them and are often compared in analogies. Teams of men go to war on the field of battle and all of that. The other side of that coin concerns results and what derives from those results. Does the act of winning release endorphins in the brain that elevate the man to an omnipotent experience with the universe? I’m not sure because I’ve never played football at the professional level but this topic certainly deserves further investigation.

What brings a player to a personal state of Zen? Does it occur during the NFL Draft when they hear their name called? Perhaps, when a player arrives at minicamp or training camp and they see their name on a locker or jersey? Is it that first preseason game or regular season game when the ball is snapped? Is it the development process or working out and practicing? Is it getting voted into the Pro Bowl? Or does it simply and only come from winning a Super Bowl? I have just mentioned a bunch of tremendous “moments” in a players career but I’m not sure if any of them pinpoint the exact moment when Zen is reached. The only one that makes sense would be winning the Super Bowl but even then, is it that moment when the stage in on the fifty yard line and the trophy is hoisted up or is at the moment when the last second ticks off the clock? It could even be further down the road when a player finally receives his Super Bowl ring. Who knows?

It’s hard to separate the money players make from their achievements on the field because one dictates the other. The famous basketball coach Phil Jackson introduced Zen to his players and they seemed to turn out alright. He created a culture that was less about money and more about state of mind and won championships. Perhaps, it is more of a constant state of Zen, then any actual moment that occurs and then leaves. I’m not sure about that theory though. I do not see how a football player can be in a constant state of Zen when their very job is to cause violence. It would seem more likely to me that they reach that euphoric state from reflecting on winning and what they have accomplished on the field of battle. I don’t know how someone can feel at perfect peace and bliss with the world, when a 265 pound man is trying to rip your head off. I guess the only people on earth who truly know the answer to these questions are the players themselves. How many of them have separated ego from true happiness can be debated but I’m hopeful at least one player has taken their mind and game to the ultimate level.

What are your thoughts about this topic and do you think a state of Zen can be reached through playing NFL football?

RD –


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