225: Jim Zorn. Life in the NFL. The transition from player to coach

December 3, 2021

In today’s episode of ‘Finding your Summit’ podcast, host Mark Pattison, former NFL Player, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Mountaineer who has climbed the Seven Summits, talks with guest Jim Zorn, former American Football Player and Coach. Jim discusses about all his mentors and their influence in his life. He also talks about those experiences which formed the basis for him.

Episode Highlights

  • 2:50 – Mark asks Jim about his mentors while growing-up which set the whole stage of what his life would become.
  • 4:04 – Jim states that he didn’t get drafted but he signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys and Tom Landry – the Head Football Coach and he was a major influence for him.
  • 6:42 – Unlike Mark, Jim had made that mental shift that he could hang with the big boys.
  • 8:20 – Jim’s major goal when he was with the Cowboys was to prepare for training camp to eliminate anything that could get him cut, other than not being a very good football player.
  • 10:36 – If we’re going to be a coach doesn’t matter who we are, we’re going to live a life of nomad continuing to move around the league, mentions Mark.
  • 11:50 – Mark points out that Jim has always done things with the commitment of excellence of trying to get better. He has continued to work while being totally committed to the goal at hand.
  • 16:38 – How did Jim survive that, as Jack Putera (Head Coach) was so hardcore that he wouldn’t allow any water in, enquires Mark.
  • 18:34 – Jim reveals that all the years that Jack Reacher was the Coach, there was no water on the field from the very first year to when he was done.
  • 20:45 – Mark asks Jim about the transition from being the star quarterback to now going into a teaching mode.
  • 22:05 – Jim shares, it didn’t take but a couple months and then Skip gave him a call and asked if he would be interested in coaching.
  • 25:01 – “What was good about those life lessons and what are the challenges of that experience?” questions Mark.
  • 26:20 – Jims’ job was to create the vision as the Head Football Coach.
  • 28:16 – There are a lot of really good ideas and there are some great experienced Coaches in their own areas and they brought a lot of value even today to a football team.
  • 30:41 – Jim informs that they will be hiring Head Coaches for Seattle Dragons – XFL and going through the same process as they did when as they put the League together.
  • 32:13 – Mark asks Jim, if the Raiders or Cincinnati Bengals or somebody else were to call him, would he go back and coach in a different city.
  • 34:45 – Some players are more Followers than Leaders, says Jim.
  • 36:14 – Jim is a true Seattle legend, he is a part of the sports fabric that’s out there. Seattle is so blessed to have him in their presence.

Three Key Points

  1. Jim says that we have to be willing to try it even if we fail, try it again and get a little bit better, and then we are on our way. But we have to be willing to step out there and be embarrassed a little bit about not being very good.
  2. If we’re stepping into situations that we may not have competence in initially, it’s stepping into that fear. But alongside it’s really just as risk taking, and we need to evaluate how much risk we’re willing to take.
  3. When we’re on a team, there’s some response, there’s some accountability with our teammates, we need to trust the guy that’s next to us and he needs to trust us to be able to play together.

Tweetable Quotes

“When I was done, it was the same feeling maybe that you had is like wait a minute I can do this, I can go on and play now.” – Jim Zorn

“I’ve never been really embarrassed or shied away from trying things. I’m kind of a curious guy.” – Jim Zorn

“I don’t like to risk my life, if you will, but what I haven’t risked is being embarrassed.” – Jim Zorn

“I always thought that if I showed my true emotions, walking into a room and saying like I really did my head this time that would make me less of a person.” – Mark Pattison

“Jack didn’t allow water and so, we took salt pills and we hydrated I mean we drank a lot before we went to practice.” – Jim Zorn

“It doesn’t matter who you are, how successful you are at some point in time, you’re going to keep moving.” – Mark Pattison

“I was replaced by Mike Shanahan and Mike had been let go by the Denver Broncos.” – Jim Zorn

“What people need to know is the league doesn’t need you and so you got to do everything you possibly can to make them want you to stick around.” – Mark Pattison

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