It is not surprising that in a culture that has overdosed on confidence and swagger, we have little appreciation for understanding the importance of humility.
False confidence forms the foundation of our individual and collective distorted reality. We lie to young people with phony affirmation. We've spent the past 30 years handing out participation trophies, masking our insecurities with overpriced Air Jordans, cheap, gaudy jewelry and prescription, mood-altering drugs and baiting our youth to create and live in fraudulent realities they can now construct on Facebook and Instagram.
We've produced a generation that values swagger over self-awareness and humility. We wrongly believe confidence is more essential to success than humility.
Football coaches, particularly old-school ones, don't buy this notion. Football coaches recognize the transformative power of humility. They understand how essential it is for development.
At this point, it is easy and pointless to rearticulate the numerous mistakes Mike Shanahan has made during his four-year tenure as the Grand Poobah of the professional football team in our nation's capital. In three weeks, when the regular season is complete, Shanahan and his son are done running Daniel Snyder's franchise.
What is important is to evaluate Shanahan's last decisive decision as Washington's head coach -- benching Robert Griffin III. It's my belief that Shanahan has made the right decision for the right reason. Humility is the only thing that can save RG III as a franchise quarterback.
Griffin is a good kid raised by attentive, well-intentioned parents. But he is a product of the Swagger Generation. He spent the entire offseason rehabilitating his swagger rather than humbly preparing for a sophomore season his head coach knew would be dramatically more difficult than Griffin's rookie campaign.
Despite the histrionics and theatrics you see on game days, football is a sport driven by humility. A humble spirit is what causes a football coach to sleep at the office. Humility is the reason Tony Gonzalez, at age 37, stays on the practice field 30 extra minutes catching passes from the Jugs machine. Humility wakes Peyton Manning out of bed during the offseason and forces him to organize practice sessions among his teammates.
Swagger is important on Sundays. Humility is the character trait that inspires a great football team the other six days a week.
Humility is at the foundation of virtually all athletic greatness. Floyd Mayweather's ego is matched by his competitive humility. Boxing requires an incredible amount of humility.
"It's hard to get up and do roadwork when you're sleeping on silk sheets," observed Marvin Hagler.
Mike Tyson lost all humility and became a poor boxer.
Griffin was spoiled by rookie success and a lack of self-awareness. He did not understand the foundation of his success. The Shanahans installed significant elements of Baylor's spread-option attack to make Griffin's transition to the NFL easier. The spread requires a lighter, more athletic style of offensive lineman than a traditional dropback-passing NFL offense. When RG III got hurt last season and it became apparent his development as a pocket passer would have to be accelerated, the offseason became even more important for Griffin.