In particular, I remember Winston’s comment from mid-December, “I draw a lot of comparisons with Cam Newton and E.J. Manuel. But for the mental part, I like to view myself as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and those guys,” Winston said. “Because they’re so ahead of everyone else when it comes to that part of the game.”
Personally, I didn’t watch the BCS premier event. And from what I’ve read, Winston rose to occasion and brought his team eighteen points down to covet the prized trophy. But deep inside, did Winston really win?
By all accounts, Winston is a talented man. He has all the key ingredients to be the best. But is Winston ahead of everyone else when it comes to that part of the game, as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees? Is Winston a leader both on and off the field? Despite the BCS pressure — he is almost certain to begin an offseason of speculation and attention, perhaps rivaling that of his Heisman predecessor, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
Question! How would a real leader have reacted to State Attorney William Meggs, who treated the sexual assault case as a hilarious joke? I distinctly remembered Meggs joked about whether the case was pressured by an upcoming Heisman Trophy vote or the ACC Championship game. He joked about the types of questions reporters were asking. He, and a former state senator who was standing behind him, and the media, joked about everything.
Winston’s attorney Tim Jensen’s press conference offered another theory. “Sometimes there are people that target these athletes, look at them, oh, idolize them, and maybe they believe there’s more of a relationship. Sometimes the motive of accusers comes in to question.” Everyone seemed so unbelievably happy.
What Winston may or may not have learned is that leadership is more than X’s and O’s. What Winston has failed to understand is real leadership defines expectations – athletically, academically, and personally. One can be a great leader on the football field, but abysmal personally. Leaders set expectations both on and off the field. Everyone must understand what is required.
The most untaught lesson that the Johnny “Football’s” of America miss is the ability to recognize how vastly different they really are from Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. What I wished the BCS Championship game would have taught Winston is a huge pile of humility. But evidently that lesson remains untaught.
Word to the wise, when humility arrives, embrace it.