Eye Candy, Smokescreens, and Accepting Mediocrity

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Do these numbers mean anything to you?

$219, 000, 000 +

$122, 000, 000 +

$118, 000, 000 +

They shouldn’t unless you’re a sports geek on cosmic levels. These numbers are the amount of money three NFL players have made in their career:

Eli Manning

Jay Cutler

Sam Bradford

Whether you watch football or care there’s something interesting about these salaries and the men who are paid gobs of money to play with a ball. It’s eye candy and smokescreens.

Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls, we’ll give him that. But has only made the playoffs 6 times in his career of 15 years. Will have a 59% completion percentage, and might have a 500 winning percentage.

Jay Cutler has also made gobs of money. Came into the league with much promise and natural gifts. But he has been average at best. Losing record 74-79, quite a few touchdowns, but a ton of interceptions. Played in 2 playoff games in 12 seasons.

Sam Bradford, oh man. A guy who can’t stay healthy and has been paid money we all dream about. A backup quarterback at best. Losing record, only played a full season twice, no playoff wins.

Smokescreens and eye candy. What we can learn from these examples is choosing the easy route for your life and organization. It’s easy to allow someone to be mediocre for years when from the eye test, everything appears good. At least they aren’t difficult to work with and don’t make a mess of things. Or, maybe, the person is better than the other options available.

But in all these examples these men have not put their organizations in a better place. They have set their clubs back many years because the investment was so high for eye candy, smokescreens, and mediocrity.

High salaries are proven to not motivate even the best employees. Can even work against the worker who gets comfortable and relies on past achievements. Not pushing themselves to be better.

Nothing against Manning, Bradford, or Cutler. This is not an attack on their character or blaming them for taking these ridiculous salaries with average results.

I get it. Everything is a risk and not everything works out.

But when a guy is asked to do a job for 8, 12, 15 years with mediocre results, maybe it’s time to move on.

I think a lot of decisions we make aren’t based on seeing the bigger whole and vision and settling for mediocrity. Well, they're a good guy or gal. They went to a good school. Who cares?

It’s easier to let the eye candy and smokescreen test fool you. Paying a guy who appears to “look” like a quarterback for many years to get average results.

The Seattle Seahawks won a Super Bowl with Russell Wilson who was working with a rookie contract. Patrick Mahomes is a second year player with a 9-2 record, and an MVP candidate. More money doesn’t equal results. And the eyes can deceive us.