Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, was once asked,
“Is there any big innovation left in football?”
“Someday there will be a coach that doesn’t punt.”
That’s me. I’m a football coach who doesn’t punt. Two-decade streak of never punting. I go-for-it anywhere on the field. And no field goals, no extra-points, and rare deep kick-offs. Two-point conversions and frequent on-side kicks.
No other coach in the world goes for it more often than I do. No one goes for it inside their own 20. No one goes for two after every touchdown. No one opens a game with three straight onside kicks. No one passes more than we do on fourth down. Why? Six reasons:
- Policing taught me what true life-and-death is. It doesn’t include whether you get a first down or get stopped in a football game.
- I have the soul of a non-conformist. One of my goals in life is to be as different as possible from mainstream conventional thinking because conventional thinking is swamped with myths.
- Another goal is to teach my players to be original, not to be live fearfully, and never be afraid to be different.
- It works. We have the evidence to prove it. Risk-taking works. Going for it puts pressure is on the other, not ours. Players develop faster. And stronger. We routinely have players recruited by the next level.
- Punting and kicking don’t fit our reality. We have limited resources – limited practice time, limited coaches, limited roster size. Punting and field goals need significant rep-investment. We focus on passing. We pass a lot. We have no fear whatsoever of passing or of going-for-it.
- It’s a rush. Going-for-it is super-exciting. Ultra-stimulating. Doing what everyone does is flat-out boring.
My go-for-it attitude has influenced other aspects of my life. I started two traditional high-risk businesses, gym and publishing company. I have worked out for 43 years using my own system I designed. I’ve used it to coach hundreds of student-athletes. I have designed extremely unconventional offense and defense systems that break from tradition. I have written books with an unconventional approach.
I challenge every thought I hear because I’ve learned that conventional wisdom is not always the truth. There is time-proven traditional wisdom that always has and always will be the truth. But there’s just as much bullshit. If we don’t challenge Earth-is-flat conventional-thinking, we will never discover, we’ll never uncover, never progress, never learn.
Separating fact from fiction is a full-time job. Go for it.