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James Jones Never Thought About Failure

James Jones Never Thought About Failure

There is one player who I have always had a soft spot for.

No matter how many passes he dropped, no matter how many routes he may have pulled up short on, no matter how much promise he had and supposedly never took advantage of, James Jones is the one player I have always supported.

From the moment he first arrived in Green Bay, Jones has been a favorite of mine. His rookie campaign (47 receptions, 676 yards, 2 TDs) during that magical 2007 season helped the Packers reach the NFC Championship Game. His career was ready to take off.

Or so we thought.

Over the next few seasons, Jones was mired in statistical mediocrity. Between 2008 and 2009, Jones totaled 52 receptions and 714 yards, a severe drop off from a very impressive rookie season. Partly due to injury, partly due to lack of opportunity, Jones was unable to capitalize on an impressive start to his career.

But he never thought about failure.

Even after getting back on track statistically in 2010 and 2011, averaging 44 receptions and 657 yards, Jones developed the reputation of dropping passes at the most inopportune times. He had a constant target on his back, becoming a favorite scapegoat for fans to hurl their abuse toward.

But he never thought about failure.

Jones has become the most traded player in Packer history, as armchair GMs were always willing to give up Jones to another team for anyone, just to get him off the Packers. He couldn't catch or run a proper route were just a few of the reasons so many were  ready to dump Jones.

But he never thought about failure.

Now in 2012, Jones has become the most important wide receiver on the Packers roster. With injuries sidelining both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, Jones has turned up his game more than a few notches. With 36 receptions, 401 yards, and 7 TDs already this season, he has become the ultimate super sub, playing his best football at a time when the Packers absolutely need him the most.

It's a good thing he never thought about failure.

I had the opportunity to meet James Jones in 2008 at the Packers Draft Party. The thing that I remember most about him is how he signed the mini helmet I handed him.  Right next to his name, he inscribed "NTAF", which I later found out stood for "Never Think About Failure." That is precisely how Jones has handled his entire career. By never thinking about failure, he has become that much become that much better of a player.

It's a good way to live one's life as well.






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Ssilva209.79's picture

James has come up big for the packers this year. He and Randall have done an excellent job filling in for Nelson and Jennings. So good that I believe they can deal Jennings and spend that money else where. I feel the same way about Finley's situation also, let him walk and extend Mathews!

dullgeek's picture

If NTAF means not to dwell on failure, I totally agree. But I'm not sure it's a good life plan to not even think about it. That's a good way to underestimate the consequences of failure and take too many risks.

Favre never thought about failure either, and he's got the record for most INTs. I guarantee you that Rodgers thinks about failure. But only enough to make sure he avoids it.

Back when I used to instuct skydiving, I stole a line from one of my instructors: look away, turn away, fly away. The idea was that if you saw something you wanted to avoid, don't stare at it. Look where you did want to fly. Powerlines were the perfect example. They're a good way to get electrocuted. So the instruction was to look where you did want to fly, rather than staring at the powerlines.

But an even worse mistake was to be unaware that they were even there. You had to first acknowledge that there is a problem. Then focus on where you wanted to be.

So I hope that NTAF means: don't dwell on failure. Because the literal meaning seems like really bad advice to me.

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