Super Bowl Champ Shares His Secret of Success
By Amanda King
Former Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Dave Rowe knows what it takes to be a champ.
Rowe, who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders during Super Bowl XI, shared the characteristics of a champ at the Augusta Economic Development’s Celebration of Industries on November 15.
Although Rowe played for two of the most recognized coaches in college and professional football, it was his high school football coaches that taught him what it really means to be part of a team of champs. His high school coach explained to him that the word “champs” displayed in the mural on his high school gymnasium wall was an acronym for qualities that determine success in sports or life. Rowe has remembered these qualities throughout his life and passed them on to his children.
“To be successful in athletics or the game of life, you have to have that first quality, ‘C’–it’s courage,” Rowe said.
He mentioned that business owners and entrepreneurs need courage to step out and do something new and innovative.
“You never win if you don’t try,” he said.
Rowe described the rough training tactics Madden used while playing for him. Despite the long days and nights and Madden’s constant striving for perfection, Rowe never gave up on his football career.
“You hate it, but you don’t quit because you love it,” he said. “That’s what heart is.”
The right attitude is key. Following his football career, Rowe went on to work as a public relations manager for an electric co-op in North Carolina. He shared the story of a co-worker who always seemed to come into the office with a bad attitude, often infecting those around her and driving others away.
Rowe knows football and that knowledge is critical when it comes to success. In addition to his high school football coaches’ influence, Rowe learned football from the most victorious coach in the NCAA, Paterno. Rowe’s knowledge of the game opened more doors for him when he became a TV analyst for college football for 30 years.
Football players are known for having a great deal of pride even in the midst of opposition and criticism. Business leaders are often in similar situations.
“You’ve got 55-60,000 people that hate your guts, but you go out on that field because you have great pride in what you know you’re doing,” Rowe said.
The prior qualities all require this last one. Whether it’s sacrificing time, money or simply one’s own desires, success takes a lot of sacrifice.
“You pay the price to win. You pay the price to be successful,” he said.
In addition to the qualities of success, Rowe reminded the crowd that only one team in NFL history has ever lost a Super Bowl and had the opportunity to return the following year to try again. That was the Buffalo Bills in 1983, and the team did not win on their second attempt either. Prior to that Super Bowl, Rowe recalled Madden always telling his team to take advantage of opportunities as they are able and encouraged Augusta business leaders to follow these words as well.
“We may not get back here. We need to win it today,” Madden said.