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Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!

As the calendar flips, there is some unfinished business left to crown the champions of the 2018 football season at both the collegiate and NFL levels. The NCAA champion will be settled next Monday while the National Football League’s playoff road to the Super Bowl will begin this weekend.

A few years back, former Seattle Seahawk defensive back Richard Sherman offered his opinion that the NFL should be known as the ‘No Fun League.’ His comments were aimed at what he and many others viewed as the league not allowing players to show any kind of personality, uniqueness or individuality. While that may have once been true, the pendulum has certainly swung the other way the past few seasons. Now those expressions of ‘personality, uniqueness or individuality’ have gone the way of absurd and are certainly not instantaneous displays of joy — rather choreographed skits no doubt rehearsed on the practice fields where they are being paid to be ‘professional’ athletes.

As the current NFL season was winding down to its regular season conclusion I found myself being even more annoyed at the all too many yellow penalty flags were tossed about the green playing fields by NFL officials. While Sherman expressed his own version of the league, I am becoming increasingly convinced the NFL has become the ‘Numerous Flag League.’

While I certainly favor rules that will add to the players’ safety, some of the stuff being called seems almost as absurd as the ridiculous end zone celebrations. All too many games saw outcomes determined by flags for ‘touching’ the quarterback or pass interference calls when by the rules of the game both the offensive and defensive players have a right to catch a forward pass. Add to that the almost inevitable ‘block in the back’ call on punting plays, all tend to make the game almost unwatchable.

In the spirit of the New Year and accompanying resolutions, if I had the power to make one resolution for the NFL, it would be regarding how touchdowns are credited. That resolution would be that to score a touchdown a runner or receiver with the ball must carry it ACROSS the goal line into the end zone, or catch a pass with both feet in the end zone. This stuff about ‘breaking the plain’ or ‘touching the pylon’ just doesn’t cut it for me.

That’s enough about me grumbling.

By the way, have you made a New Year’s Resolution yourself for 2019? Or perhaps you’ve already broken some. If you have, you are not alone. According to a recent University of Pennsylvania study, only 77% of people who make resolutions are still sticking to them a week into the New Year.

Should you be in need of some inspiration, you might want to consider some quotes of famous athletes used for self-motivation.

NBA great Michael Jordan – “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant – “Everything negative – pressure, challenges, etc. – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”

Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady – “Too often in life, something happens, and we blame other people for us not being happy, satisfied or fulfilled. We all have choices, and we make the choice to accept people or situations, or to not accept them.”

Lebron James – “Once you get on the playing field it’s not about whether you’re liked or not liked. All that matters is to play at a high level and do whatever it takes to help your team win. That’s what it’s about.”

Steph Curry – “Be the best version of yourself in anything you do. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story.”

Baseball great Cal Ripken – “When you’re in the day-to-day grind, it just seems like it’s another step along the way. But I found joy in the actual process. The journey. The work. It’s not the end. It’s not the end event.”

Tennis star Serena Williams – “Since I don’t look like every other girl, it takes a while to be okay with that. To be different, but different is good.”

Former Yankees great Derek Jeter – “The last thing you want to do is finish playing or doing anything and wish you would have worked harder.”

Track and field Olympian Usain Bolt – “Repeating is harder than anything else.”

Racecar driver Danica Patrick – “Take those chances, and you can achieve greatness. Whereas if you go conservative, you’ll never know. I truly believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Muhammad Ali – “I hated every minute of training. But I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Former NBA great Abdul Jabbar – “I think the good and great are only separated by the willingness to sacrifice.”

Magic Johnson – “Research your ideas. See if there is a demand. A lot of people have great ideas, but they don’t know if there is a need for it. You also have to research your competition.”

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky – “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.”

Professional wrestler Rhonda Rousey – “I don’t shy away from any questions. I’m not scared of any questions. A lot of people are scared of having actual opinions. People are so scared of criticism. You can’t be scared of people disliking you.”

So even if you are not one to make New Year’s resolutions, try giving up a bad habit and see how good it will make you feel. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to make profound statements about how you live your life.

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