NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman says Aaron Rodgers is evidence that meditation makes better leaders
Former NFL quarterback Troy Aikman has leaned heavily on meditation in his post-NFL life.
But Aikman says he would have been a different teammate during his career if he found it back then.
He said he'd have been less reactionary as a player, pointing to current NFL star Aaron Rodgers as an example of a leader who's calm under pressure.
Troy Aikman says meditation has made him a better version of himself in his post-retirement life, and he thinks it would have made a big difference during his playing career too.
The 55-year-old NFL Hall-of-Famer won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys from 1992-95 and made six Pro Bowls.
However, he thinks meditation would have made a difference is in how he addressed his teammates as a leader, and he admires players today like Aaron Rodgers who seem very cool under pressure.
"I don't know if I would have been a better player, but I would have been a different teammate," Aikman told Insider. "I would have led differently."
'I was highly reactionary when I played'
Aikman took up meditation 10 years ago after reading a book called "10% Happier" by Dan Harris, and then refined his approach for it when he read "The Untethered Soul" by Michael Alan Singer a few years later. It caused him to reflect on his actions and most notably his reactions during his playing career, and how he might do things differently had he known what he knows now.
"Now part of my practice is not being reactionary, and I think I was highly reactionary when I played. So I think from that standpoint I wouldn't have reacted the same way, I wouldn't have reacted nearly as often to whatever the circumstance was," Aikman told Insider.
A 2016 episode of the NFL Network series "A Football Life" focused on Aikman's life and career showed one of his more reactionary moments on the sideline when he was seen yelling and cursing and teammates and Cowboys coaches during a game.
In that same episode, reporter Dale Hansen spoke about an instance in which Aikman told former Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer to cut several teammates and make others run laps until they threw up after they showed up to practice hungover.
"I think back to how I have been over the course of my life and I kind of laugh about it a little bit because that was kind of like this older version," Aikman said. "I just don't think I would react the same way. And what that might mean I don't know. I don't know what that would have meant to my success or our team's success, but there's no question that I would have gone about it differently."
Aikman believes Aaron Rodgers is showing meditation can help a quarterback be a leader
One example of a current NFL player that Aikman likens himself to if he meditated during his career is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aikman, who is the lead color analyst on the NFL on Fox, has seen up close how Rodgers handles stressful situations as a team leader while broadcasting Packers games, especially one recent instance during the Packers' comeback win over the Chicago Bears on December 12 when the Packers were losing by 10 points.
"The TV cut to a shot of Aaron and he just looked totally calm, like he was working through some breathing at the moment in the game," Aikman said. "I asked him about it and he says he has breathing techniques before he takes the field, he has breathing techniques throughout the course of the game."
Rodgers has said meditation played into his decision to return to football this season after contemplating retirement earlier this year, during an appearance on the Dan Le Batard & Friends podcast in August. Rodgers previously said meditation helped him cope with his breakup with his former fiance Danica Patrick and helped him "get in a better headspace to enjoy football and life more" in an episode of the Pat McAfee Show in September 2020.
Aikman says he's had conversations with Rodgers about the effect meditation can have on a football career and life, and that if he was running a football team in 2022, he would expose mindfulness to his players and give them the option to pursue it without forcing it on them.
Read the original article on Insider