Welcome to our list of 17 qualities successful NFL players share. Over one million student-athletes participate in football at the high school level in any given year.
Less than one percent of those who play in high school will end up playing in the National Football League.
Making it to the NFL is hard enough, but there are some similarities among those who make it to the game’s highest level.
Here’s a look at 17 different qualities that the best of the NFL’s best share.
1. Possess a strong work ethic
If a person wishes to be successful, he or she is going to have to work at it.
While a high school football player may be blessed with unique talents that allow him to get away with relying solely on his athletic ability, when you reach the NFL that is just not possible.
Every player at the NFL was the best player on high school team and an elite level player on his college team. If a player does not have the capacity to work at perfecting his craft he will not make it in the league. Look at every top player at his position and one thing is certain; they all work extremely hard at being the best.
Sure, athletes are determined, but those elite NFL players take determination to a completely different level. Facing challenge after challenge, these professionals always find a solution. They will always seek out opportunities to help them reach a certain goal. To the best of the best, failure is simply not an option.
Unlike sports like golf and tennis, football’s team nature requires that individual players have a level of respect for coaching. The best players will take good coaching wherever and whenever they can get it.
Successful NFL players are always looking for an edge. They know they don’t know everything and if they can learn one new thing that gives them an advantage over an opponent, they consider it a win. To become this type of player, one must be coachable.
4. Desire to improve
Along with being coachable, successful NFL players have a burning desire to improve. Even players with tremendous amounts of ability still have the desire to get better. Each offseason, players work on getting faster, running better pass routes, or gaining more strength.
Whatever it may be, the best players are always trying to get better. As the saying goes, every day you practice you either get better or you get worse. Elite players prefer the former.
5. Great physical shape
What NFL player do you know that is not in great physical shape? Sure, there are some awful big offensive and defensive linemen that don’t look real good in a uniform.
Underneath it all though, they have amazing strength and stamina to play one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Oftentimes, players fail to make NFL rosters simply because they have not prepared their bodies properly.
6. Mentally tough
Great physical condition is only part of the whole package for a successful NFL player.
Players need to be mentally tough for a number of reasons. Take Kurt Warner as an example. Warner did not start a college football game until he was a senior. He was not drafted by an NFL team and after three years in arena football and one playing in NFL Europe, he finally made it to the NFL.
Without the mental toughness to take all of the hardship, Warner might have given up in college. He would have given up the opportunity to win a Super Bowl, something he did in 1999.
7. Football smart
There are some pretty smart people in the NFL. New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is a Harvard graduate. John Urschel is a guard for the Baltimore Ravens. The Penn State graduate began studying for his Ph.D. this past offseason… at MIT!
If you plan on making it in the NFL, you don’t have to have quite the aptitude of Urschel or Fitzpatrick, but you do need to understand the game. The best in the league have a great deal of football smarts. They understand different situations, their own position, and even other positions on the field.
The majority of football players enjoy the game because it is an opportunity to be aggressive. Some positions are a little more aggressive than others, but in general, football players like to get after each other and don’t mind a little contact. Linebackers, for example, seem to play the game with a very aggressive temperament, which is needed at the position.
While NFL players are an aggressive bunch, they must maintain a level of discipline on a variety of levels. The game is full of contact and heated confrontations with other players. Players must have the discipline not to break the rules while playing the game. There is also tremendous discipline involved in maintaining a certain diet and strength and conditioning program.
The best players playing on Sundays have a unique awareness of everything that is going on around them. How does Tom Brady look at a defense, receive a shotgun snap from the center, see a play develop, and then execute a perfectly thrown ball that somehow finds its way through a number of defenders for a New England Patriots’ touchdown? It’s his awareness.
11. Ability to make teammates better
Speaking of Tom Brady, he has made Julian Edelman a household name. Edelman was a college quarterback. He possesses all of these successful qualities and he was also fortunate enough to play with a guy like Brady, who does make him better. Great players have a way of bringing their teammates together for a common purpose.
12. Excellent motor coordination
Can you catch a football? Can you catch one while running full speed with someone hanging on you while the ball gets tipped? The majority of us do not possess the requisite motor skills to be an elite athlete. The best NFL players have amazing hand-eye, hand-foot, and other motor coordination.
There are a number of ways to measure strength, but NFL players at every position are simply stronger than the average man. Whether it is a bench press, squat, deadlift, or a power clean, you will find that NFL players are strong. They can lift some pretty heavy weights as they have to do so repeatedly during the course of a game.
Along with strength, the average NFL is much larger than the average male. Taking into account all players at all positions, even kickers, the average height and weight of an NFL player is a shade over 6-foot-1-inch and a little over 250 pounds.
The averages of the typical U.S. male?
Five-feet-ten-inches and 195 pounds. A recent study found that the average height and weight of an NFL offensive lineman was 6-5 and 310 pounds. Of all the offensive linemen in the league, less than 30 weigh under 300 pounds.
One thing you will find among the most successful players in the NFL is a sense of humility. While we see a lot of braggadocio on the field on Sundays, the best players know they have been blessed and they are very thankful for all that has been given to them.
The best NFL players are driven to succeed. They understand that in order to reach a goal they are going to have to lead others to get there. These players establish standards for excellence and lead others on the way there.
A successful NFL player has to have some level of organization or he will fail. During the season, players have meetings, practices, media events, and more. In the offseason, they have training sessions.
For those that have families, they must make sure that they are involved in the lives of their wives and children. NFL players take heed of “a failure to plan is a plan to fail” and organize themselves for success.
17 Qualities Successful NFL Players Share was written by a high school and college football coach. Feel free to read our other compelling top list articles on site.