When we think about success stories in US pro sports, we often look at the players that ink the biggest contracts and get paid the most per year. As an example, top paid NFL Football players for 2023 showcase names such as Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and the list goes on.
What we often do not look at is what occurs at the end of the careers of these players. These athletes give it their all, often from a very young age, and work hard to reach their potential at the highest professional level. When they reach retirement, we see how the players respond to a level of uncertainty that many have not experienced in years. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Former successful pro athletes often must dig deep, assess their lives, and learn how they can pivot, post-retirement in order to try and be their happiest and most successful selves, while no longer playing the game they love.
Today, we will highlight an NFL Hall Of Famer, Quarterback Peyton Manning. On March 7th, 2016, the two-time Super Bowl Champion decided to hang up his cleats and retire from playing in NFL Football. He did not have a concrete plan for his future.
The way Peyton responded to the unknown was truly admirable. When faced with a challenge that had lots of uncertainty, he displayed his ability to thrive.
Peyton did not want to coach and he turned down many offers to go into the world of broadcasting. Instead, in the year 2020, he started his own company which he named “Omaha Productions”, after his known audible call “Omaha! Omaha!”
Now, Omaha Productions is one of the fasting growing media companies in the world. The company signed a deal with ESPN that featured a 10 game per year agreement for “Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli”, a high-level football commentary to be broadcast with Peyton and his brother Eli, also a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the NFL’s New York Giants. After the company received a $400M valuation, it is safe to say that Peyton Manning truly turned a potential mess into a message.
To quote Rocky Balboa, “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
Many of today’s pro athletes are thinking long term regarding their business careers, with a mindset that analyzes their future post-retirement career.
This long-term mindset is something we instill in US pro sports moguls as part of our work. We understand that mistakes are made by all, but we believe in the outlook of “You either win or you learn.”
Contact me to chat about our strategy for pro athletes in the US.