Former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon has achieved almost everything possible in his sport. The Philadelphia native is best known for his tenure with the Oakland Raiders from 1999 to 2004, in which he was named to the Pro-Bowl four times and went to the Super Bowl in 2003, playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Despite the many accomplishments of Gannon, he knows his biggest one would be attaining eternal life. He had this ingrained into his mind in childhood, due to his father’s influence. Gannon and his five siblings were brought to Mass every week and went to confession almost as often.
The older Gannon gets, the more he appreciates this idyllic atmosphere of mercy. He spoke of the need for fathers to duplicate that atmosphere today and to reach beyond one’s own family to share the Catholic faith.
Gannon, a University of Delaware grad who threw for over 28,000 yards in the NFL, spoke of these and other faith-related issues in anticipation of the Pro Bowl on Jan. 31 and the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, which will see the Buccaneers facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Has it been a smooth transition from playing in the NFL to calling games in the NFL?
A QB has to know a lot, not only about how to play the game, but also how to express that verbally every week to the media. You could say that, even as a player, I was preparing for my work today as an analyst — and that the transition from retiring in 2004 to starting in television in 2005 was not much of a stretch.
With that said, the process of calling a game, like playing one, is still challenging. It’s similar to studying for a final exam all week long and then having a three-hour window to prove yourself. Each game is different, and onlookers can be very critical of what is said by analysts.
I put a lot of pressure on myself, but there is also pressure from the outside. Even if you get 192 of the 195 plays right during the game, those three you didn’t get right will be the story. If you mispronounce someone’s name or get a stat wrong or leave something out, that might be all over social media. That’s one of the things that provides motivation to be well-prepared. I like to sum up the importance of getting set in advance with the saying that “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”
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