Those who play the game of football just because they love the game always receive a warm reception from the fans. It’s a game that we all love, too, so to see the players that we watch are fans just like us is not just relatable, but valuable, because it indicates that they are motivated to succeed beyond just performing a job.
Football, though is a lot more than just running around and tackling people. That was a theme that Jon Bostic really seemed to be aware of in his answers to questions posed to him for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ website.
The veteran inside linebacker frequently invoked the interpersonal relationships and experiences involved in the game, and outside the game, as driving forces for him. This should not be a great shock, given that he is a second-generation player.
His father, John Bostic, played his college ball for an FCS school in Florida before being drafted in the sixth round by the Kansas City Chiefs, but he ended up having a three-year career with the Detroit Lions inside as a defensive back, registering one career interception.
Bostic called his father his mentor and inspiration, noting that he has already walked the same path—even going from playing in Florida in college before moving on in the NFL. “He has always been a good role model”, he said of his father, not only what he has done on the field, but of the field too”.
The Steelers are more attuned to the non-football elements of the game than most teams, or so it would appear, though I would have to concede that I’m tremendously biased. Since the days of Chuck Noll and his preaching of a man’s ‘life’s work’, the team has consistently employed head coaches that instilled in their players life lessons and an appreciation for the game as an instructive tool for the everyday.
That is why individuals such as Darrius Heyward-Bey and Arthur Moats are so valued by a team like the Steelers—and by their teammates, of course. They might not be the best players at their position, but they offer important contributions that don’t necessarily show up on the field, at least in direct ways.
Those are the sort of players that can serve as the glue that binds a team together, creating an all-important bond that provides intangible benefits. That is why the Steelers remain one of the few teams to hold their training camps away from their facilities.
That sort of camaraderie and its importance was exemplified in Bostic’s answer about why he plays football. He does it for “the locker room”, he said. “The guys you get together with and put it all together and set a goal and trying to go achieve it”.
Football is the ultimate team sport, so it does make sense. It takes a full roster from the top to the bottom to produce a championship season barring incredible fortune. It helps if the 53 men on the team all feel a sense of duty and obligation to fight for one another.