College football is a sport that bears a striking resemblance to the rest of our lives. Football demands that players give their all to the game to win big.
The greatest athletes and coaches in the business remind us that in football and life, hard work, perseverance, selflessness, and sacrifice are exactly what is needed to excel.
The lessons learned through football can apply to anyone’s life. Whether you’re a fan or not, football can teach you how to go after what you want and win.
Inspirational Quotes for Success from College Football Legends
In college football, student-athletes are asked to give their all both academically and athletically. Many athletes rise to the challenge and learn the most compelling life lessons along the way. The following 15 inspirational quotes show us how to use the lessons from football to overcome our lowest lows and achieve our dreams.
1. “You learn more lessons on character at the two-yard line in football than anywhere else in the world.” –Paul Dietzel
This football quote compares the rigors of training as a football player with the challenges of life. When you’re on that two-yard line–defensively or offensively–you must be on your A-game. It requires that you have a plan in place and the willingness to put in some hard work.
2. “Don’t miss practice unless you’ve died or your parents have died.” — Frank Leahy
College athletes spend the majority of their time practicing, training, and studying. Though this type of discipline is incredibly uncomfortable, it makes them who they are and is what allows them to win.
Inspirational quotes like this show us that there is no shortcut to success. Don’t make excuses; show up and get to work.
3. “If we don’t tackle well, we must make it up by not blocking.” — John McKay
This quote rings true for football players and fans: there are two sides to every game. McKay shares that whatever the situation, do all it takes to win.
This sentence shows us that if our first attempts weren’t sufficient, we must try a different strategy, but never quit.
4. “I make practices very hard because players that are quitters need to quit during practice, not during a game.” — Bear Bryant
Football weeds out the weakest players. Life is a lot of live football in that it will do the same for us. If you can’t get through the hardest trials of your life, you’ll never play in the “game.”
Regardless of how challenging something may feel in the moment, remember that you can get through it.
5. “Two things every American thinks they are able to do are coach football and work a grill.” –Greg Schiano
This funny quote relates as much to football as it does to all of our lives. There’s always going to be someone that thinks they know how we should act or what we should do to achieve our goals better.
If every football coach listened to every person that gave them their unsolicited opinion, they’d never make the calls necessary to win the game. Coaches have to believe in themselves and know that they know the right calls to make to win the game.
The same is true for you. Tune out those that always have something negative or contradictory to say about you. The only person that knows what’s best for you is you.
6. “Lessons are often learned in defeat, and many teams are getting the best education.” — Murray Warmath
Even when football players lose, they win. In every loss, there’s a lesson. The same is true in your life, so make sure to learn a life lesson from every failure.
7. “When we win, nothing else hurts. ” –Joe Namath
The truth is that there’s nothing that feels as good as winning. Every time you miss an opportunity or fail to meet your goals, remember that you will eventually succeed, and all the other sacrifices will have been worth it.
8. “Let’s fight them until hell freezes over. When that happens, we’ll fight them on the ice.” –Dutch Meyer
Inspirational quotes like this show us how important it is to keep our fighting spirit strong. To get what you want out of life, you have to fight for it. Even in the craziest situations or scenarios–always keep your fighting spirit strong.
9. “Motivation is quite simple. Eliminate everyone that isn’t motivated.” — Lou Holtz
College football coaches like to cull the weak and unmotivated from their teams. This way, they can build a group of people that are willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Keep this in mind when it comes to the people that you spend your time with. If you surround yourself with unmotivated people, you’ll find yourself starting to think and act like them. To win, you must build a team of winners.
10. “Remember that Goliath was the 40 point favorite compared to David.” –Shug Jordan
The age-old story of David and Goliath focuses on how the odds were against David from the beginning. Yet, against all the odds, David was the clear winner.
When it comes to life’s most challenging obstacles, don’t psych yourself out. You can do anything you put your mind to and then some.
11. “Student-athletes must understand that they’ve made good choices in their life so far to keep up with college and athletics. This should encourage them to keep making the same good choices.” –Condoleezza Rice
Ok. You got us. Condoleeza Rice might not rank among these others as a “college football legend.” But, her words ring true and accurate. And so, we included them!
Trying to navigate life between sports and academics is no easy feat. Condoleezza Rice’s quote reminds college athletes (and the rest of us) that being able to find the balance with both is the key to success.
Like student-athletes, we all must learn to find harmony in our lives. Though it won’t always be easy, that is what makes us winners in the end.
12. “Coaches should never underestimate their players. The emphasis must be put on solutions, not problems. ” –John Kessel
As coaches work to push their players to work as hard as possible, they focus on specific coaching techniques to bring the best out of them. Inspirational quotes like John Kessel’s show us that believing in others is the first step in getting them to give their all.
Likewise, we must focus our energy on creating solutions rather than thinking about how severe the problems are that we’re facing.
13. “Bad attitudes will ruin your team.” –Terry Bradshaw
Many people in life think they will make their dreams a reality simply because they are talented. They believe that the Universe owes them. Thus, they develop a negative attitude.
If you don’t put in the time to commit to your goals and work hard every day, your talents are meaningless. Likewise, if you carry around a negative attitude, you will lower the energy of your entire team.
With discipline, you can begin looking on the bright side and harnessing the power of positivity to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted.
14. “Training hard makes you hard– and harder to beat.” –Hershel Walker
In football and life, hard work has transformative power. Before training, student-athletes are fresh from high school, naive, and ignorant to the ways of the world and the game.
Through training, college football players learn to discipline their minds and bodies, continue working harder, and become the best version of themselves.
Life’s challenges can knock us down and cause us to feel small. However, the moments we pick ourselves back up and work harder than ever are the most important. It is in these moments that we become tougher.
When life comes back with new challenges, you’ll be able to stand firm. Not only will you be more robust, but you also won’t break in the same ways you used to.
15. “Though adversity may cause some to break, it causes others to break important records.” –William Ward
Adversity is constant. Though life will continue to throw obstacles in our way, we must learn how to overcome them.
Student athletes soon learn that if they let the pressures of school and sports overwhelm them, they’ll never be able to compete in the ways they need to that will allow them to succeed.
However, athletes that press in and work harder than ever and allow life’s struggles to refine them into the most unbreakable version of themselves will not give up. These are the athletes that break records and go above and beyond.
Learning not to give up and not give in is the first step to becoming unbreakable. No matter how hard it may seem in the moment, giving it your all now will reward you in the end.
College football reminds us that every ounce of sacrifice is worth it. Whether we win or lose, as long as we dedicate our lives to working hard and discipline our selves, we can count ourselves successful.
Whether you’re a football fan or don’t understand the sport at all, these life lessons transcend the sports world. Keep these 15 inspirational quotes from famous college football players (most of whom enjoyed dazzling pro careers) in mind as you work to overcome negativity and embrace your inner positive power every day.