Armen Keteyian reminds football captains of responsibility

Armen Keteyian, author of a bestselling novel and an 11-time Emmy award winner, was the guest speaker at the FCIAC Football Media Night held at Zody’s 19th Hole in Stamford on Sept. 2.

Gathered before him were assorted media members, coaches and most importantly to Keteyian, team captains from the respective schools.

Before being a writer-reporter for Sports Illustrated (1982-89), and moving on first to nine years as a sportscaster for HBO and CBS Sports, and currently as a full-time correspondent for Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports,” Keteyian played both football and baseball at Bloomfield Hills Lahser High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., class of 1971.

Keteyian earned the attention of all the players with the phrase: Friday Night Lights.

“Be aware of what you do with the power of those lights, the power of uniforms,” he said.

“As captains, you have a unique responsibility... You set an example with what you do on and off the field.”

Keteyian then related a story about New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady.

“Being involved with CBS Sports I did about 50 Patriot games,” he said. “Now Tom Brady steps in for Drew Bledsoe in the 2001 season and wins a Super Bowl. Now, everyone wants a piece of Tom.

“To put it bluntly, the next year Tom was a jerk (to the media in pre-game meetings before telecasts) because he was overwhelmed by what had happened the year before.

“Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator and he told Tom that there is a difference in what you want to do and what you have to do.

“He had to learn how to be a professional... How to go from last to first in the league.

“That next season, Tom got the award from his teammates (the top parking spot at Gillette Stadium) and coach Bill Belichick as a symbol of hard work and attendance during the offseason program. He’s kept that spot every year since.”

Keteyian then switched gears back to captaincy.

“Call it responsibility, call it a burden or a challenge, but you carry it,” he said. “Whether its a post-game party, an obnoxious fan, think twice about how you act because there is a responsibility that you carry.

“Another phrase I like is from Bill Belichick: ‘Do your job.’ It’s not what your teammates have done, its not how you feel about being coaches, if everyone does their job things have a way of fitting together.

“Set the tone. It’s how you interact. It’s whether you pick on people or if you pick up an opponent from the bottom of the pile.

“Nick Saban, the Alabama coach has a book called ‘The Process,’ that is both new age and old school.

“It has a couple of buzzwords — Play the Play and Lock in Lock out. Don’t worry about the score of what happened the last play. Don’t worry about what scout might be in the stands watching you or how far it is to the goalline. Play the next play. Start a drive; stop a drive.

“Forget the crowd, forget the cheerleaders, and I know that may be difficult, and forget the scoreboard. Lock in, lock out.

“For many of you, this is your last football season. There is a commitment being asked of you so make the most of the next few months.”