When’s the Right Time for an Athlete to Hang It Up?

Get your red wine bath ready, Tarlin and Mike are back after a SXSW panel, a Good Morning America appearance, and a bout of Covid-19(!) to talk about the age-old question of what’s the right way to hang it up at the end of a long and successful sports career. Don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been here for (nearly two!) years and we’re not planning to retire any time soon.

We begin with Tarlin recounting conversations with his Dad about Tiger Woods playing past his prime and how he should’ve retired on top like Jim Brown. From there, we span multiple sports looking for heroes who have faced the end of their playing careers in various ways. What can we learn from Barry Sanders or Andrew Luck, who left their sports early? What can we learn from Shaq or Patrick Ewing or others who stuck around longer as their physical abilities began to fade? And what about GOATs who retired and then unretired like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Tom Brady? Plus we show our range by covering Shaun White, Jimmy Connors, Kelly Slater, Serena Williams, Sue Bird and more. We even talk Carl Lewis both as a track star and as a National Anthem singer in a free-flowing romp through the greener pastures of sports retirement. Don’t miss it!

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The Flores Suit Pre/Post Super Bowl Hangover Edition

Tarlin Ray and Mike Palmer are back to talk about the Flores Suit against the NFL and to follow up on our previous conversations about the shortage of Black Head Coaches in the League. Tarlin almost gets irate but keeps it on a simmer as we revisit questions about why Eric Bieniemy (of The State), Byron Leftwich, and Brian Flores still don’t have head coaching jobs even as Lovie Smith and Mike McDaniel have gotten the nod since our last episode.

What can we learn from the Flores suit and the response to it? How does this connect back to Curt Flood and Free Agency in Major League Baseball? And what behind-the-scenes references to Ben Simmons and James Harden is Mike using to “motivate” Tarlin before we start taping?

We cover all of this even and even share a few tricks of the trade as we start to pivot towards the NBA now that we’re shaking off our NFL Hangovers on our latest search for lessons from the sports stories that are capturing the global imagination.

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The NFL’s Black Head Coach Problem

As of the release of this episode, Mike Tomlin is the lone Black Head Coach remaining in the NFL. Tarlin and Mike run it back to our ongoing conversation about the Rooney Rule and soft affirmative action in the NFL referencing Tomlin, Art Shell, and Jim Caldwell. We talk Eric Bieniemy and Byron Leftwich. We reminisce and look for lessons from the careers and legacies of Tony Dungy and Bill Belichick. And ultimately, we celebrate Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s recent hiring as GM of the Minnesota Vikings.

Then Tarlin talks about the work of Guy Primus and The Board Challenge to effect the long, slow turnaround of institutions like the NFL. We admit that we can’t quit the NFL even though we know we probably should as we say goodbye to a friend of the show and talk about how we can give black head coaches more chances than they’re getting to turn the institution of the NFL around.

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Antonio Brown’s Walkoff, The NFL and TMZ Culture

Tarlin and Mike are back to find lessons learned from sports. This time we look at the spectacle surrounding Antonio Brown’s exit from the Tampa Bay Bucs game versus the New York Jets during the 3rd quarter of the game last weekend.

Why did Tarlin not want to cover the AB story? How does this situation compare to the broader challenges of working with divas and other selfish personalities on teams and in the workplace? What must it have been like to be Bruce Arians trying to talk to AB while recovering from Covid and a partially torn Achilles? And how might this relate to Mike Tomlin and lessons from other diva wide receivers like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ocho Cinco over the years?

We cover all of this while kicking off 2022 with our inimitable style. Thank you for listening.

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Aaron Rodgers Lies about His COVID Vaccination Status

Tarlin Ray and Mike Palmer are back looking to find lessons learned from the Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay. Now that it is confirmed that Rodgers is not vaccinated against Covid-19 and that he was referring to alternative treatments when he told the media he was immunized, what wisdom and leadership lessons can be found in all of this?

We watched the Pat McAfee Show Appearance where Rodgers rails against the “woke mob” and “cancel culture” as he defends his decision to break the unjust rule of having to be masked during interviews with the press. We explore the impact on team culture when the leader lies and how it’s different when he’s truthful within the team while obscuring the truth with the media. And we make some connections to the political arena and how the “Big Lie” can galvanize the group and perhaps set up Green Bay for a deep playoff run. How does Aaron compare to Alex Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong, and other famous liars in sports? Does he suffer from “affluenza” and is a bit too quick to take on a narrative of victimization? We answer all of this and more in a free-wheeling conversation that you won’t want to miss.

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That’s My Quarterback – TO and Tony

NFL QB Controversy 2021 Kickoff Edition

To kick off our second year of Running It Back, Tarlin and Mike are back to talk NFL, beginning by returning to 2008 and Terrell Owens’ legendarily tearful “That’s My Quarterback” press conference. We recall how Owens defended his quarterback, Tony Romo, who was taking heat from the press for vacationing in Cabo with Jessica Simpson during the Cowboys’ bye week prior to losing to the future Superbowl Champion New York Giants.

We look for lessons to be learned from this and other QB controversies across the league in 2021 as we get amped up listening to The Mad Fanatic’s hype track for Drew Lock,That’s My Quarterback.

From there, we’re off to the races, tracking the controversies emerging everywhere while looking for lessons for our professional lives based on controversies with the “CEOs on the field.” Whether it’s Mac Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Daniel Jones, or Justin Fields, Mike and Tarlin bring hot takes and sharp connections to QB conversations present and past.

We’re excited to be back for another year of Running It Back. Thanks for joining us for the ride.

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Black Quarterbacks and the NFL Draft

With the NFL Draft approaching, Tarlin and Mike return to explore the history of black quarterbacks taken in the first round over the years. We begin with a quick breakdown of the prospects for the 2021 draft with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields among those at the top of the list. How does race intersect with the predraft hype and projections for Fields, Lawrence, and others?

From there we run it back through the history of black QBs taken in the first round and even share the story of one Willie “Mitts” Thrower who was the first black man to take a snap as QB in the NFL back in 1953. We talk about Doug Williams, Warren Moon and even Kordel Stewart, aka “Slash” as we look for lessons from the past and ways to learn from examples throughout the years.

Whether it’s Michael Vick, Daunte Culpepper, or Donovan McNabb, we look to the past to help understand the present in an insightful jaunt down memory lane. We conclude with a particularly salient example of why giving black players a shot at the CEO position on the field makes all the difference

If you love what you’re hearing, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and visit us at RunningItBack.fm for more amazing lessons learned from the world of sports.

The Rooney Rule and Minority Head Coaches in the NFL

Tarlin and Mike are back to kick off 2021 with a dive into the history and relevance of the “Rooney Rule” which was established in 2003 to ensure that diverse candidates got interviews for open Head Coaching positions. We refer to the research of CC Dubois from the 2017 MIT Sloan Conference where she established a 19-21% positive impact on the diversity of NFL Coaching hires due to the Rooney Rule.

Recent trends in Head Coaching and GM hires in the NFL have brought this back into focus as we now have reverted close to 2003 levels with top Offensive Coordinators like Eric Bienemy and Byron Leftwich somehow being passed over for recent head coach openings. Do “soft” affirmative action practice like the Rooney Rule work? What can we learn from Tony Dungy’s example? What lessons can we apply to the broader world of work and diversity, equity, and inclusion based on what we’re seeing in the NFL?

We explore all of this and touch on the related challenges around the perception of black quarterbacks over the years on our latest episode.

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The QB Controversy 2021 NFL Playoffs Edition

Tarlin and Mike dive back into the NFL this episode by examining the QB situations heading into the 2021 NFL Playoffs. Did Aaron Rodgers need the motivation of a potential QB Controversy to lead the Packers in what may be an MVP season? How does the QB controversy between Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick remind us of famous QB1 vs QB1A controversies from back in the day?

We talk about all of this and sort out who gets to hold the clipboard on our latest episode of Running It Back!

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Kaepernick’s Legacy, September 11th, and QB Controversy

Tarlin and Mike reflect on the opening of the NFL season with a mix of excitement, confusion, and frustration just after the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans began the 2020 NFL season in front of 17,000 live fans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The fractured approach to protesting the anthem, with the Texans opting to remain in the locker room before joining the Chiefs for a moment of unity resulted in boos from the fans and confusion from TV viewers like Mike who watched it live.

We run it back to how sports can help us heal in difficult times like after the September 11th attacks in 2001 and contrast that with the unevenness and confusion of the return of football today. We tie much of that to the story of Colin Kaepernick who lost his opportunity to play in the NFL thus far since his protest of police brutality back in 2016. From there, we hit on the history of controversy around the abilities of black quarterbacks which seems mostly a thing of the past as we witness Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and other elite black quarterbacks establish a new understanding of the position.

From there, we quickly run through the QB1s out there to sort out where the most intriguing controversies may arise this year. There’s much to talk about with Aaron Rogers and Jordan Love and we connect that narrative to the Joe Montana and Steve Young era in San Francisco along with the Drew Bledsoe and Jimmy Garrappolo battles with Tom Brady over the years.

We’re happy that football’s back, and in this crazy year, we try to put this season in some context as we run it back to seasons gone by.

And we sprinkle in a bit of Friday Night Lights while we’re at it. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.

Thanks for listening.