Bud Grant, philosopher

I only met him once, but I still love the old man. He defines old school common sense and toughness:

The MMQB: If Marv Levy hadn’t lost four Super Bowls with the Bills, your team would’ve been the NFL benchmark for almost winning it all, over and over again. Do you feel more pride in having reached four Super Bowls, or ignominy for having lost them all?

Grant: We got paid. We won. We came back, and we won again and again. But you have to remember one thing: Football is entertainment; it’s not life or death. Once the game is over, you’re already talking about next year and the draft. It’s just entertainment. It’s like going to a play: When it’s over, you walk out the door and it’s over. There are no residuals to it. You’ve got to start all over again. If winning or losing is going to define your life, you’re on a rough road.

There you go. You cannot let winning or losing define your life, whether it is a paralyzing fear of failure or a psychotic need to win at everything. Do the best you can, train hard, and when you line up for the playing of the national anthem, you damned well stand up straight and in a straight line.

And after the game, whether you win or lose, you face your opponent and you shake his hand. If you can’t even do that, then what good are you?