The Difference Is Palpable - Two Very Different Leaders...

milani

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It was week 1...the Bears vs Packers was on the TV, our son was napping and my wife was over on the couch reading - I thought. She's got a thing for MLF so it's not surprising for her to pay some attention to the game but not a ton. Forget which specific play it was but Love and his target were clearly not on the same page and after the incomplete Love tapped his chest as if to say "on me". My wife said a short but poignant statement - "Well that's refreshing." I smiled and said yea, but it is early in the year and we are winning...let's see how he handles adversity and see what happens.

Week 2, a game where a LOT went wrong, a lot went right...but we ultimately came up short. Yet again...the wife who only half pays attention mentioned again how Love is a "nicer person" as she puts it.

Yesterday...week 3...man were there some ugly plays. One that sticks out in my head the most was the fourth down play that Love and Taylor thought two completely different things on that pass to the flat for an easy first down. In such a crucial moment, when the play is needed the most...I figured this is when we see Love snap some....but he didn't. Even though it was clearly Taylor that messed up, MLF's face staring at Taylor said it as the offense retreated to the sideline. Love didn't scream and yell and chew Taylor out...he did eventually connect with Taylor on the sideline as any good teammates will but Love had moved on.

I don't know where we wind up this year in the win and loss columns...with all these injuries and how young we are I'm shocked we are at 2-1 and should be 3-0 if I'm honest. Honestly, this season may end up with playoff aspirations but for me 2023 is all about seeing what we have, what major pieces does Gute have to build off of or not - biggest of which are QB and WR/TE groups. But there is an interesting thing which quietly is coming to the forefront of the conversation as well to me and that is just how different of a leader from behind center Love is vs Rodgers. Quiet, calm demeanor under pressure is something they both have...but at least in a short few games which have tested Love in various ways, he has illustrated that he is in no way the same guy as Rodgers when things fail. He isn't the scream and yell and demean a teammate who failed....

Now the why for sure is not something I'll pretend to know. BUT, having watched Love in college, liked the guy from a very young age, read up on his family history....bottom line is I think it just isn't the type of leader he likes to follow nor be as well. He sees immense value in his fellow man, and on the gridiron I think that is just intensified. If you're going to win the battle that is an NFL game, your fellow brothers in arms are needed not pushed away by discouragement. I think Love realizes this......now to be sure he isn't a Jay Cutler type either who is just going to pout and go sit and say nothing to a teammate (just as bad). Time and time again he's been seen talking with his teammates even if briefly after a miscommunications and I think he's even owned some mistakes of others because of his position on the team (taking on the burden of his role) in order for it to be put behind quicker.

It will be interesting to watch the evolution of Love and his leadership style...as he proves more and more hopefully that he is "that guy" does he feel it is more his role to be that 'coach' and 'chew' a guy out...or is this truly his leadership role style. I know the motive is the exact same for both leadership styles but having played tons of sports in my life I have always appreciated when the best player or the "leader by position" type guy had the mentality of I'm a guy at war with you guys, and I need you with me more than I need to let you know you're wrong. Good leaders are relentless with their expectations (no less than the Aaron Rodgers style) but are equally constant with their support in the moments of war.

I know Love is not likely to be as great of a pure QB as Rodgers, but I'm very curious to see if, even if just for a while, he gets more out of this group of young weapons and team in Green Bay in part due to what type of leader he is. There are multitude of different leadership styles, and most can be successful if the team buys into the leader and the leader earns their respect.

It is this different feeling at 1265 Lombardi Avenue that is possibly the #1 thing I've taken away from this very young season and new era....and I for one am all in on that feeling.
I hope you are right. Sometimes success leads to hubris. Maybe Love will be more of a Bart Starr. Humility is a virtue that even the greatest of stars can absorb. Starr did criticize players at times but he did it privately and properly. He never would try to embarrass anyone. He earned the respect of his teammates and his opponents.
 

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