The Value of Teamwork: A Story Of Success From a Former NFL Player

By Ben Peterson, Missouri Regional Director

Football season is here! As a former football player at many levels, and now dad and coach to two football players, I have been involved with many different football teams over the past 25 years.

While I have great memories from all of them, I would describe some of these teams as good, some as bad, and a few as excellent. As you would expect, the performance of the team almost always was directly related to the quality of the individuals playing and coaching the teams. However, the skill level of the individual players did not always equate to the overall performance level of the team.

In my final experience as a football player, I was a member of the 1999 Cincinnati Bengals team which had several former all-pro players, MANY former first-round draft picks, and probably at least 4-5 players who were arguably the best at their position in the NFL at that stage in their career. It just so happens that the Bengals (or Bungles, as we were so affectionately called in the late 90s and early 2000s) ended up with 4 wins and 12 losses that year, were statistically the 3rd worst team in the NFL that year, and our head coach was fired the next season. If you looked at our team on paper before that season, you would have guessed we would have been more likely to have gone 12-4 instead of 4-12.

The 1999 season concluded with the St. Louis Rams winning the Super Bowl under the leadership of head coach Dick Vermeil and quarterback Kurt Warner. Many would share the opinion that the 1999 Rams were one of the greatest teams of all time, and have since been tagged as “The Greatest Show on Turf.”

However, before the season started, they were predicted to finish last in their division. They did not have any superstars, and no one had ever heard of Kurt Warner before the season began. Warner started the season as the backup to Trent Green until Green became injured at the start of the season. In fact, only 5 years before the 1999 season, Warner was literally bagging groceries after a failed attempt to make it playing professional football! He definitely did not have the pedigree or credentials of an NFL MVP quarterback, but that is exactly what he became that year.

I could go on all day with great rags to riches football stories! If you are not a football fan, please stick with me, the point is right around the corner.

What made the Rams great and the Bengals the Bungles? The Bengals had the credentials to be a very good team, and the Rams did not. I am sure there were a lot of things you could point to which contributed to the success of the Rams and the failure of the Bengals. Though they were unknown, and without pedigreed players, there were two very special things about that Rams team.

  1. Organization and communication.

Head coach Dick Vermeil was a master of communication, preparation, and motivation. He always found a way to get the most out of his players.

Though the Rams did not have a great defense that year, every man on defense did their job play after play after play. They may not have been flashy all-stars, but they all did their jobs to make the team successful. They would not have been able to do their jobs had the coaches not put them in the right places at the right times to maximize the most of the skills they had. They would not have been able to make necessary changes and adjustments without great communication from the coaches and player to player.

  1. The passion and heart of the team.

As leader and MVP of the team, Kurt Warner had an enormous heart and passion for the game and for his teammates. His teammates could see and feel his passion. Combined with all the obstacles that Warner overcame just to get on the team, his teammates spent every ounce of energy they had working together to achieve the same goal that Warner had a passion for achieving. This proved to be a recipe for success.

And very fittingly for this team of not so well known players, the final play of the season was a defensive stop at the 1 yard-line by Rams linebacker Mike Jones to preserve the Super Bowl victory. Jones was never an all-star player, but he defined the hard-working attitude and performance of the ‘role-player’ that is crucial to a team’s success.

Even if you don’t all share the same passion for the sport that I played for over 12 years, you can’t argue that when all team members are performing at a high level, it’s a beautiful thing to watch.

I now have also been a member of the ARC Physical Therapy+ team for over 12 years, both in a role-player and leadership capacity. ARC is led by the same leaders that had the vision to begin this company 14 years ago. Those leaders founded the company with a well-defined organizational model, and an unparalleled level of communication. ARC’s leaders knew that we had to be better communicators, to be a better team, to achieve our goal of being the best at treating and managing work comp cases. All members of our team must operate at a high level to get the job done as the role-player within the larger team, which is made up of all of us.

We may not care as much about credentials, but we care deeply about the passion our team members bring to their jobs. And, we feed off the passion that you all have for your roles. We hope we do the same for you. We strive to be the best role players we can be, to do our part in achieving optimal outcomes for our clients. We may not all have the same letters behind our names, but we know we are the best team because we share the same goals and have the same passion as you to achieve them.

In conclusion, each of us thoroughly enjoying what we do every day may be the biggest reason we succeed as a team. We love our work here at ARC Physical Therapy+! We appreciate the opportunity we have been afforded by you to be a part of your team as well. We will continue to rely on each other, move towards the goal line together, and have fun doing it!

Thanks to all of you for being great teammates!

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