To the Editor:
Regarding the Incogninito vs. Martin NFL story: Please ask former Raiders head coach John Madden to publicly tell the story he told, as a keynote speaker at an HP (Hewlett Packard) internal management training seminar in about 1986, about “toughness”.
As one who was there told it, Madden said, his biggest challenge as Raiders head coach was recruiting — how to predict which outstanding college players were likely to succeed as pros.
He tried all the usual angles — stats and interviews — with no correlation. Finally he said he got advice from a team psychologist, and asked ask the college ballplayer about a lot of things, not just football, trying to find if he has “toughness” — not the ability to inflict or endure pain, to be mean and aggressive.
Toughness is the ability to see what you don’t want to see, hear what you don’t want to hear, and do what you don’t want to do — with enthusiasm. That’s what he looked for in a promising college football player.
We need this insight at this time. For all of us who would be tough, not just for NFL folks who should allow Coach Madden to inspire them.
Bill L, Juneau, AL