Sunday, November 16, 2008

When Opportunity Knocks

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Nancy Gay covers the NFL for readers. She just profiled an interesting situation recapping how the Miami Dolphins are rebuilding their recently woeful team. In her recent article "The right way to rebuild" she talks about Chad Pennington the former Jets and now current Dolphins quarterback.

We found that several of her observations and Pennington's comments hit the proverbial nail right on the head. Sports often mirrors life in that one seemingly hopeless situation often morphs quickly into a wonderful opportunity. The key ingredient is usually the mindset of the people involved.

Some key points from Nancy Gay's story:
  • Pennington has quietly completed 66.5 percent of his passes this season (185 of 278) for 2,200 yards and eight touchdowns. Pennington has tossed five interceptions - a byproduct of Henning's gambling downfield style - but he's also had 24 completions of 20 yards or longer, which ties him with Peyton Manning, and is one more than his replacement with the Jets (Favre has 23 completions of 20 or more yards after getting two Thursday against the Patriots ).

  • "Well, I think the one thing that the NFL is about is opportunity. When one door closes, a lot of time another one opens and as long as you keep the right mind-set and stay confident in how you do things as a professional, I think you can really take advantage of the opportunities presented to you and that's what I've tried to do," Pennington said this week. "I've tried to come in to the Dolphins organization and be the best that I can be every day and work extremely hard and see what happens."

  • Tony Sparano was looking for a quarterback to whom the young players would gravitate, and Pennington established himself straight away as that guy - just as his front office envisioned. "Once we had the opportunity via the Brett Favre thing ... to, maybe, get a player like this, it was fortunate that Jeff (Ireland) and Bill (Parcells) felt strongly about this," Sparano said. "We went out, we got him, we brought him in here and, from Day 1, when he walked through the door, the players were following him around like he was the Pied Piper."

  • Pennington's history made the transition much easier. "I was familiar with the system because Bill Parcells drafted me in 2000 in New York and I knew what type of system it would be and how the organization would be run. They value smart, tough, disciplined football players and guys who not only know how to be professionals but really take pride in being a professional football player," said Pennington, who was told he would be expected to provide leadership and be a mentor to the younger players, a role he relished. "I knew that that would fit me and I felt really good about the situation."

Have a great week. Who knows, perhaps opportunity will come knocking on your door?!

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