NFL quarterbacks draw inspiration from those who played the game, the people they watched growing up, or the veterans who mentored them during their first NFL days. Others look off the field for feedback. The lessons they learn can often be what defines them.
Looking at where NFL quarterbacks draw inspiration and learn lessons, we can get a fascinating look at what drives them and makes them who they are today.
1. Andrew Luck
Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shocked everyone when he retired during the NFL preseason. Before then, he spoke more candidly about the cutthroat nature of football. In 2013, he discussed the origin of this lesson.
“Biggest lesson I learned my first year in the NFL is no one gives a crap about what you did last week,” Luck told Bleacher Report. “This league is about what have you done for me now. That’s the NFL. It’s also our culture. So you keep working hard because that’s the biggest truth about football.
Six years later, Luck learned this lesson the hard way. Rather than thanking him for years of service, many Colts fans chose to see Luck’s retirement as an indictment on his character. Lessons are hard to learn, but there is an oddly prophetic shade to the one Luck learned in his career. Perhaps, this lesson ultimately made him retire so early.
2. Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees says the greatest lesson he’s learned in the NFL is not so much a football lesson, but a life lesson. According to Brees, the greatest thing he’s learned from being in the NFL is the power of gratitude, humility, and respect.
Brees explained that the more football he has played, the more he has learned to cherish these attributes in himself and in his teammates and competitors. As he reflected on his career, Brees stated his belief that approaching the game with these things in mind helped garner valuable lessons and relationships.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo learned a harsh lesson last year when he tore his ACL just months into an enormous contract. But Garoppolo said that his injury helped teach him the value of looking forward.
“Live to play the next play,” Garoppolo told the NFL Network. “That was the first thing I learned from [the injury].” Perhaps, this inspired him to his current success, as the 49ers are now 4-0 with a revitalized QB at the helm.
4. Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had about as good a breakout season as a player could last season. Not only did he go from bench quarterback to MVP, but he did so while putting up historic numbers and winning nearly every game. The lesson he learned, however, did not come with the success, but failure.
Following his loss to the Patriots in the playoffs, Mahomes learned that no matter how good things look, he had to remember he could always get better, stating that the same mistakes he got away with for other teams do not work against a juggernaut like the Patriots.
5. Russell Wilson
The Seattle Seahawks player came out of nowhere early in his career to become a superstar quarterback and a Super Bowl winner. Because of this, Russell Wilson has become one of the best young NFL quarterbacks.
When former Seahawks owner Paul Allen passed away, Wilson spoke about how Allen inspired him and told him that the most important path to success involved doing what he loved. With a healthy payday and a still-growing career, Wilson appears to have taken Allen’s lesson to heart.