Jack played 14 years as a defensive end in the NFL, and only missed one game. A Hall of Famer, Jack played in the Super Bowl and two other games on a fractured left fibula.
From kids and football to what he thinks of NFL these days, and the practice of dedication, Jack Youngblood talks with MyFixitUpLife.
Mark: We are joined by All Pro, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl. Is that a Super Bowl ring?
Jack Youngblood: That’s the Hall ring.
Mark: That’s the Hall, I couldn’t even lift that up never mind play in the Super Bowl.
Jack Youngblood: It’s the Hall of Fame ring.
Mark: Jack Youngblood from the then Los Angeles Rams.
Jack Youngblood: Thank you Mark, thank you.
Jack Youngblood: Yes. The then Los Angeles Rams.
Mark: The then Los Angeles Rams, they’ve moved enough times that I had to think about that for a second.
Jack Youngblood: Me too. They ran off, dumped us, and we don’t have anything to do with Saint Louis anymore.
Mark: Now Jack, first of all, I’d like to congratulate you for having a fantastic first name.
Theresa: Oh, I was going to do that.
Mark: That’s our son’s first name.
Theresa: Yes, we have a son Jack.
Jack Youngblood: Oh do you?
Theresa: Yes, a four year old.
Jack Youngblood: That’s an excellent choice.
Mark: He actually says those words, “That’s an excellent choice.” He’s four.
Theresa: Yes he does, he’s four.
Jack Youngblood: He’s four?
Mark: He’s four years old.
Jack Youngblood: That’s crazy.
Theresa: Yes, he’s an old soul.
Mark: Now, I have a thousand questions for you, but I want to make sure that we find out why you’re here at the National Hardware Show in the first place?
Jack Youngblood: I have a real good friend from the playing days in California, Joe Ferlauto, he’s the President and CEO of Prime Wire and he asked me to come, he did the show two years ago and I came and was there at the Bed Show with him for two days. And then, he asked me to come this year and be in the show again so I said, “Of course I will.” It’s fun, it’s fun especially to reconnect with old friends and catch up on where they are.
Theresa: Well, I am so excited that you’re here because, well, you’re a legend and …
Jack Youngblood: In my own mind.
Theresa: Well, you are and my father … See, I have a football family so my Dad is, I don’t know, a ginormous football fan I would have to say, ginormous. And he went to, he used to go to Griffith Stadium in DC when it was Griffith Stadium and he was one of the first season ticket holders for the Washington Redskins when they first were established a long time ago. And he would be out of his gourd right now to know that I’m sitting next to you right now.
Jack Youngblood: He probably saw us play those Redskins several times. In fact, you remember the bad things that happen to you. I don’t remember the good things to be honest with you. You know, the good plays and the wins and all that, but I do remember when they handed us our rear-end. Washington, in 1980, I want to say 1983, 52 to 3 I think it was.
Mark: I didn’t even know they had that score.
Jack Youngblood: Oh yes, it was so bad I just could now wait for that clock to tick down to get me out of that place. Yes, it was a playoff game.
Mark: Did you just … As a defensive player, were they just running over you physically and mentally?
Jack Youngblood: And everything else, I mean, it was just complete. They were doing anything and everything they wanted to that day.
Mark: So people know you, and I want to circle back to what we were saying about legend before because I saw a look come over your face. But, in football and in life, I guess, you know, when you’ve got a running back who’s stomping on your head and just out running you, leaving you there and you’re embarrassed and you’re tired. You’re known for being a never give-in, never say die, blood and guts, smash-mouth player. You’re going to go and you’re going to find a way to win no matter what. How do you make that work when you’re not winning?
Jack Youngblood: Well, you never lose that attitude from play-to-play. It’s you play each play as if it’s the only play of the game. And even though somebody else messed up three plays ago and let them score, this next play I’m going to make the play, I’m going to do something to stop them from doing from what they want to do.
Mark: So, all I heard in there was blame your other players.
Theresa: Is that such a good lesson?
Jack Youngblood: That’s right.
Mark: Got it! Life lessons from Jack Youngblood as edited by Mark.
Jack Youngblood: Somebody else.
Theresa: But that’s such a good lesson in life though, to not be distracted by what’s happened before. You know, learn the lesson, move forward, and try to do your best and go after it.
Jack Youngblood: And try not to do what you did wrong the last time.
Jack Youngblood: That’s the key to it, learning.
Theresa: Now, I’m reading the book about you right now.
Jack Youngblood: Are you?
Theresa: Yes, because it was so good.
Jack Youngblood: Thank you.
Theresa: Yes, I’m reading it on my iPhone and I’m enjoying it and … Okay, I’m a mom of a four year old boy who is tough. He is so tough that …
Mark: You might not need to explain it to him; I’m just throwing that out there. The guy played in the NFL.
Theresa: He’s so tough he just scares me a little bit. His grandfather, my dad, played in football, his father played Rugby for ten years. Do you have any advice for me and other mommies out there that know that you’re raising a boy that’s going to go into…
Mark: He’s not going to go into Chess Club first.
Theresa: No, no, no, no.
Jack Youngblood: He’s not going to the Glee Club.
Mark: Not first.
Theresa: When he was a very little guy, when he was like 18 months old just walking around and going to little activities and like, they would bring balls out in the activities, he would not see people anymore, he would just see the ball. And he would get all the balls so like the little girls would want their little pink ball, they’d be gone because all he sees is ball.
Mark: No joke, he’d go in and strip it.
Mark: Take it down and come out of it that way.
Theresa: Do you have any advice for me to go to like my happy, quite place? Because your mother was, you know, behind you 100%. I’m afraid.
Jack Youngblood: Absolutely, absolutely. I like Jack’s attitude. I’d love to meet that child. He’s got something going for him. For a mother, promote what he’s good at don’t push him any direction except what he’s good at. That’s the main thing and then try to coach him and allow him and give him the opportunity to go and be as good as he can possibly be at whatever that is. If it’s sewing or if it’s playing football. Let him be as good as he can possibly be in whatever it is.
Mark: Is that a lesson you learned from your mom?
Jack Youngblood: Yes, and my father and grandfather. You know, you go be what you can be. Go be as good as you can be and …
Mark: Now, when you started playing football … Because I’m reading the book too and I’m not sure I have the story right because I only get every other third word. I’m not … There are no helmets in Rugby, okay?
Jack Youngblood: I didn’t know that
Mark: When you were trying out for the football team for the first time in your life you were having a problem because you had growing pains, you weren’t as big as the other guys, and what is that story? And did it then form the hustle that you then became known for in college and later on in the NFL?
Jack Youngblood: Well, I was having … And I don’t know what the name of the doctors word for what I was, it was growing pains. My knees were growing faster than the rest of the body and so therefore, it was causing serious pain and I couldn’t run very fast because it was so painful. Got through that faze of growing and never let the concept and the desire to go and play competitive in something basketball, baseball, you know, football whatever it was I still had that competitive edge.
Mark: Is that part of it? Obviously, everything is a physical game you’ve got to be able to run down the street and throw a ball throw a ring and all that stuff. But is it possible to say, for at least you or other players, that you know or other people that you know, that you admire how much of it is mental edge and if you don’t think you can do it, think you can do it anyway?
Jack Youngblood: Well, see in sports you have to have the talent first of all. And there’s a lot of them out there who have the talent. There’s not a lot of them that have the mental capacity to play at that level and play it consistently for a long period of time. That’s the difference.
Mark: It is like a work ethic thing where you have to go to the gym?
Jack Youngblood: Work ethics part of it, absolutely.
Mark: Even if you don’t want to.
Jack Youngblood: and you have to be able to look at what you did wrong, correct it, and never do that again and then go play.
Theresa: Work ethic.
Mark: The silence that you’re hearing, by the way Jack, I want to point something out is MyFixitUpLife feature, she’s so impressed.
Theresa: I am.
Mark: And moved by what she’s hearing because my wife is a born winner there’s no question about it.
Mark: And what she’s hearing is she’s taking that in. You know, like if I said something for example, she’d be talking before I even finish saying, “Hello. Hey, how you doing? You know what Mark? Why don’t you go do the dishes and get some other stuff done?”
Jack Youngblood: We all live through that.
Theresa: Well, I mean for 14 seasons, right, one game missed and you played in the Super Bowl with a broken leg?
Jack Youngblood: Correct, yes with a broken leg.
Theresa: That’s work ethic.
Jack Youngblood: That’s what?
Theresa: That’s work ethic, that’s dedication.
Jack Youngblood: That’s a passion.
Jack Youngblood: The only reason that I’ve looked back and tried to figure out what was going on then was the passion to play the game. I was the Captain of the football team and I was, my mentality is if you can play, you go and play because it’s your responsibility to your teammates. And so I went out the first, broke it in the second quarter of the Dallas Playoff game, the Divisional Playoff. Went in, taped it up, came back out, finished the ball game, sacked Roger twice in the second half.
Mark: Roger Staubach?
Jack Youngblood: Staubach, Staubach and that put us into the fifth championship game of our career. Went to Tampa, Tampa, Florida and shut them out; that was on a broken leg and two weeks later we played Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XIIII and had it won. It was right there, it was in our grasps with six minutes left in the ballgame and then Terry Bradshaw made two great throws and John Stallworth went up and made some tremendous plays and they beat us 31-19.
Mark: How much do you want to say right now you hated Terry Bradshaw?
Jack Youngblood: I’m part of the reason he’s bald.
Theresa: I kind of love it. So what is it like … You know, in the book I’m reading about you didn’t watch football on TV growing up. What is like watching football games with you now? Do you have to be by yourself quite, like if you’re watching on TV or is it sort of social?
Jack Youngblood: Actually, I don’t watch a whole lot of football anymore.
Jack Youngblood: I’ll watch it later on in the season, the first of the season is not good football, in my mind. I see too many errors, I see the wrong rather than the right and later in the season, I’ll start watching it a little bit. And you, yes, you’ll have to put up with me because I’ll be telling you exactly what so-and-so did wrong. That he did that, what happened? So I get rather technical with it when I’m watching it.
Theresa: That would be fantastic.
Jack Youngblood: Yes, it’s fun.
Theresa: Wow, wow.
Mark: Well, I might actually be afraid to watch a game with you. I don’t know why the quarterback puts his foot up like that, but we have to take the snap and go into the break. We’ll be back with more from the Handy booth with Rebuilding Together and the Tradesperson of the Year and more with MyFixitUpLife.
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