Paxton Lynch is a fun dude. Everywhere you look he’s doing something funny or weird or just seemingly being himself.
This makes Paxton Lynch seem extremely likable. https://t.co/YFGyNRAtPb
— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) April 30, 2016
— NFL (@NFL) May 20, 2016
What is he doing in these videos, you ask? I have literally no idea but it’s refreshing, isn’t it? Young guy, coming into the league, having fun, being himself, being—well—goofy. It’s different but it’s fun.
There’s always a devil’s advocate, though. A couple weeks ago, I heard a local radio personality pose a fair question, “What great quarterback has ever been goofy?” I say it’s a fair question because there isn’t an obvious answer that comes right to the top of the mind.
Manning was funny but not goofy, he was presidential, Brady is definitely not goofy, Rodgers is snarky, Cam is cocky etc, etc.
Does it matter? Probably not but when you have a player folks are hoping is going to lead the franchise for years to come, it’s worth analyzing anything. The NFL is a “copycat league” after all, but Lynch doesn’t seem to be copying anybody.
I asked the long-legged quarterback who, admittedly, looks like a pirate if he himself thinks he goofy.
“I grew up as kind of a goofy kid. I was always taller than everybody and a real skinny kid, so I was kind of goofy looking,” he said with a laugh. “I just took that role I guess. I’ve just always had a smile on my face, and especially when you come out here and you’re doing what you love every day—I just try to enjoy it as much as I can.”
But here’s the important part, can you turn it off? Your personality off the field is largely irrelevant if you can lock in between the lines.
“I think when it comes to off the field and hanging out with those guys and doing what you do off the field, you can be who you are,” Paxton confirmed. “But when you come here, you walk through those doors and you step out on the field, I think it’s a different mentality. You’ve got to lock it in and it’s time to be serious and handle business.”
There you go. Who cares if Paxton Lynch walks around the locker room with an inflatable swan around his waste or if he wants to dance like a fool after a big play—at Memphis he liked to spread his wings and pretend to fly after a long bomb for a touchdown. Who cares if he wants to act like Von Miller—you know, the guy who brought Denver the Super Bowl (those guys will probably get along great)—just because he’s a quarterback doesn’t mean he can’t have fun.
Leaders come in all different shapes, sizes and styles. Not every leader has to be the stern, follow-me-in-everything-I-do type, what matters is that a leader is followed. Paxton Lynch, by all accounts, seems to be a likeable guy and that is certainly one way to gain followers in a locker room. In fact, if he came in here and started acting like Peyton Manning, leaving notes in dude’s lockers when they mess up, that would be a quick way to lose the team.
Bradley Roby said something a couple weeks back that has stuck with me, “When people see things that haven’t happened before, they automatically doubt.” Now, he was talking about a Super Bowl team losing two quarterbacks in the following offseason but I think it applies here, too.
The 6-foot-7 goofball may not scream war general or presidential candidate but that’s not a reason to doubt him or his potential as a leader. Let the kid be himself, see what happens. Maybe he’ll turn out (on the field) like another person who is unapologetically himself, Cam Newton. A player Paxton refers to as, “My guy.”