This episode features former NFL MVP Rich Gannon, a friend of the show’s. He is an incredible NFL player turned businessman who has continued to prioritize his faith and family first.
He was drafted by the Patriots in 1987. He then moved on to the Minnesota Vikings, the Redskins, the Chiefs, then to the Oakland Raiders. In Oakland he had his most success from 1999-2004 when he was able to make the Pro Bowl four consecutive years, made it to the Super Bowl, and won NFL MVP.
After football, he has continued to excel in the business world, being a part of multiple real estate developments and working as a NFL broadcaster for CBS.
As a heads up, we had some issues with the audio so we did not get to all five questions. Just bear with us please, we will get better!
Bobby: Welcome to the show Rich. How are you?
Rich Gannon: I’m great. Just celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. That’s a longtime for a NFL player. Unfortunately, many NFL players struggle with the transition, they continue to spend their money at a rate that isn’t sustainable and end up getting in a divorce shortly after.
Bobby: Just curious, how did you learn to be so different than the common NFL player when it comes to business, real estate, family, and everything else?
Rich Gannon: Yeah, I was blessed with parents who loved and cared for me. I’m a product of a Catholic education. And my dad never had to talk about it, but he always showed me the value of hard work. He practiced law until he died at age 81. He was still working six days a week. I wasn’t the most talented guy but just had to work really hard. I tried to make good decisions. It’s really not a secret that to be successful you must find something you love and work at it.
Bobby: Yes sir. Do you have any life hacks for listeners to work on this week to become successful?
Rich Gannon: I would say that young individuals should work on asking more questions. In hindsight, I wish as a rookie in the NFL I would have called up my manager and asked to speak to a former NFL QB. I should’ve talked to someone who already knew how to deal with the media, the injuries, etc. Even in business, I wish I would’ve taken more time to, first, pray about major decisions, but also ask others who have more experience than I do. Professionals like to help young people, so just ask. I think younger people are often times scared to ask or are sometimes to arrogant to reach out to others.
Bobby: Do you apply this idea still as you work your way into broadcasting?
Rich Gannon: You know, I just got off the phone with John Madden. I spent an hour and a half with him today. And a couple weeks ago I was talking to Doug Collins, trying to figure out how to become better at broadcasting. Today, with John Madden – a hall of famer couch and announcer – it was invaluable to pick his brain and spend some time learning from him.
Bobby: Great. Another question then. To this point, what would you say was the greatest moment in your professional career?
Rich Gannon: I have been blessed being a player for 17 years then a broadcaster for the last 13 years. So I have been blessed to be apart of the NFL for 30 years now. I’d have to say the greatest moment was being the MVP in 2002 then taking the team to the Super Bowl. That was a culmination of a lot of hard work and a long journey. As a broadcaster, I have yet to reach my greatest moment.
Bobby Mason: Could you please take us back to 2002 when you won MVP. What did you feel?
Rich Gannon: It was a long journey up to that point. I was drafted by the Patriots, who didn’t even want me to play quarterback. So, I then spent my first six years in Minnesota, trying to earn playing time. When I finally got the opportunity to play, the Vikings traded me to the Redskins. Then I had shoulder surgery and was out for a bit and got sent to Kansas City as a backup. I finally got to Oakland in 1999. That’s the first time I really got my own team, and got the responsibility placed on me by the coach and owner. We won three straight AFC West Titles. It was a lot of fun, especially because it was such a journey.
Bobby Mason: Somewhere in your earlier years in the League, did you have a moment when you were the closest to giving up on football?
Rich Gannon: Well, I don’t know if I was ever really that close to giving up on football. But when I was drafted by the Patriots, who didn’t want me at quarterback, I told them that I was leaving to go to law school if they didn’t trade me, so that’s what they did six days later. In MN, I really didn’t get the chance to play until a couple of years later. Then my knee got blown out, tearing my ACL in 1988. And then being traded and having shoulder surgery. Between all of that, there was a lot of adversity, but I always kept on working and praying to God for guidance and strength. It really felt like I was being called to the journey and to perfect my craft as a QB. And fortunately, I was able to fool them at QB for 17 years.
Bobby Mason: Wow, what a journey. We want to be respectful of your time, so before you go… Do you have any parting thoughts, any asks of the audience?
Rich Gannon: You need to remember to pray on decisions and then, as I said before, reach out to others with more experience than you for some help. I’m always telling young people to not be afraid to reach out to successful people to get some nuggets of knowledge.
Bobby: Great piece of advice. We will let you get on your way. Thank you, Rich, so much for joining us today.
Rich Gannon: Not a problem Bobby. Thanks for having me. Bye-bye.
Thank you for your interest in Master the Start Podcast. Keep an eye out for next week’s podcast when we speak with Greg Frankenfield, the founder of Magenic, an international software development firm.
Please subscribe and leave us a review if you liked our first podcast. Also, don’t forget to work on asking more questions this week. This is a powerful habit to build.