In The Huddle with Fran Tarkenton

Learning Quarterback from Other Quarterbacks

As a quarterback in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, I had to continually improve, get smarter, and get better to help my team win. As I did that, one of the first and most important lessons was that I did not know everything. I had to learn from other people—I had to learn from other quarterbacks.

I got smarter about playing quarterback because I called up Johnny Unitas, I called up Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, and Bart Starr. There aren’t very many starting NFL quarterbacks in the world—who could better understand what I was doing and what I was trying to do than someone else who was doing the same thing, someone who had experience doing it? I learned quarterbacking from other quarterbacks.

That’s a universal principle: you learn how to do something and get better at something when you learn from people who have done it before and are doing it now. But one of the biggest problems we have today is that our “experts” have no experience in the realm they’re lording over.

When it comes to our economy and jobs, we look to pundits and politicians and experts who argue over pushing and pulling this lever and that lever, adjusting this rate or that, insisting that getting the settings just right will make jobs magically appear. But you know who doesn’t have a voice in the process? The small business owner who is out there doing it, who has built a business and created jobs. Who has created value for his community. Now isn’t that a crazy thought: maybe we could create more jobs if we actually got input from the people who create jobs, and asked them what they need and what is holding them back!

Experience is so important. I didn’t learn to play quarterback by talking to people in the media who watched other people play quarterback; I went to the guys who did it, and that helped me learn more and improve my own game. The entrepreneurs, small business owners, and hard-working people who solve problems and create things are the most important resource our economy has. Without their voice, there is no recovery.

AMAC is a great place to let those voices be heard. Speak out about what we’re doing here, and encourage others to join. The more Americans who come together speaking out for our great principles, the more of a difference we can make.

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