|Posted on May 7, 2018 at 5:55 PM|
In the 1980s and 1990s, former Pro Bowl quarterback Jim Everett stood out as one of the most productive players of his era. During the 5-year stretch of 1988-1992, Everett's 19,024 passing yards were the second most in the NFL, most in the NFC and more than Hall of Fame quarterbacks: John Elway, Jim Kelly and Warren Moon. Everett led the NFL in touchdown passes, twice, faced Joe Montana in an NFC Championship game and continued to play at a high level in his 30s with the Saints.
I talked with the 12-year veteran about his career, what it took for him to succeed in the NFL, how he measures success and what he's up to these days.
Ryan: Jim, thanks for taking the time to talk football. I begin a lot of interviews by asking vets what they miss most about playing the game. I’d like to change that up a bit. What do you enjoy the most about your post-football life?
Jim: "First of all, I feel so very blessed to have had an opportunity to play a sport that I love and respect. My 12-years in the pros along with the many years before taught me a number of lessons in life, more than I could have imagined. These experiences have translated into who, what and where I am today. Sharing and applying what I learned on and off the field has led me through the financial industry and has guided me in helping companies in many ways.
Possibly the most rewarding part of a post-career is giving back to the sport that has been so darn good to me. Coaching, mentoring or just supporting our local youth in our great sport of football motivates me. Sharing our stories and creating more are keys to living a good life and I am unlocking that door daily."
Ryan: To have played in the NFL at all puts an athlete in rarified air. To have played in 163 games is something truly remarkable. You were successful in your 20s with the Rams and in your 30s with the Saints. What did it take to play for so long and to find success with two different teams?
Jim: "Success can be measured in many different ways Ryan. I consider every snap and every game I played a success. Sure, there were times we won and there were times we learned. Winning is similar to mixing a cake recipe with a correct combination of quality ingredients, yet no team is the same on an annual basis due to many factors including injuries, Free Agency or even coaching changes. What is consistent is change and every player has to evolve with change or move on to something else or do it elsewhere.
I attribute my successes on the field by acknowledging all the people of support, which includes my family, the support staff, the teams, my teammates and of course, recognizing that I really wanted to be the best at my craft, even if that effort didn’t translate into Super-Bowl recognitions. My efforts were 100% my best and reflecting on every moment of those times make me smile with pride."
Ryan: You led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1988 (31) and 1989 (29)—finishing 10-6 and 11-5 respectively—only to be snubbed from the Pro Bowl both years. You went 5-11 throwing 23 touchdown passes in 1990 and were selected to the Pro Bowl. Do you feel the prime of your career remains underrated?
Jim: "Hmmmm. Ryan, the quarterback gets way too much credit for victories and losses. But nevertheless, we as fans, associate with champions. So having no Super Bowls to show for a career as a quarterback, well, this is the measuring stick by public opinion. Yet, there have been some remarkable NFL careers that are fantastic but will go rather unnoticed without a ring to show for their effort."
Ryan: What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment of your NFL career?
Jim: "Leading by example and staying positive in the face of adversity. Matter of fact, [that] still applies. Beating the Eagles and Giants in the playoffs on the road in 1989 was special. Lastly and openly, multiple victories as the Saints quarterback vs. Chuck Knox’s Rams teams was very gratifying."
Ryan: Fellow Purdue Boilermaker Drew Brees (70,445) is only 1,496 yards short of eclipsing Peyton Manning (71,940) to become the NFL’s all-time passing leader. He’s 4,286 yards head of Tom Brady (66,159), and younger. Does any part of you relate to Brees as it pertains to out-producing your peers only to see others receive more recognition?
Jim: "[The] public measures by Super Bowls. Drew is having a spectacular career and he’s in the right place at the right moment and he’s seizing the opportunity. We’ll look back after the clock spins a few more times but at the end of the day, Drew will receive his recognition as being one of the game's best ever to play the position."
Ryan: If you had to pick one game, that in your opinion best represents who you were as a quarterback, what game would it be and why?
Jim: "One game? Tough question. Here’s a go. Almost any game against the Giants, or the comeback in Tampa Bay (coming back from a 27-3 deficit to win 31-27) or the Rams/Saints game in 1989 where Flipper [Anderson] set the record with 336 receiving yards."
Ryan: What are you up to these days?
Jim: "Overall retired, but Ryan, loving that our Rams returned to Los Angeles. [I'm] doing some additional TV work for CBS, helping as a Legends Community Ambassador. [I was] recently was named a board member of the NFL Alumni and I assist local athletic programs in our area. Family life keeps me very busy and that in itself is truly rewarding."
Follow Jim Everett on Twitter: @Jim_Everett
Follow Ryan Michael on Twitter: @theryanmichael