For this episode of Slingin It with QB Velocity we had a chance to sit down and talk to Hall of Famer Andre Tippett. Andre played 11 seasons for the Patriots and played his college ball at Iowa; he now works for the Patriots as the Executive Director of Community Affairs.
Andre was an All American at Iowa playing linebacker in which then he was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of 1982 NFL Draft. During his 11-year career he was selected for 5 Pro Bowls and 2 First team all-pros. He also went to the Super Bowl with the Patriots during the 1986 in which they lost to the Chicago Bears.
In the Interview we got a chance to talk about his love for the game, , what he loved about Iowa, the “Patriot Way” and his journey as a parent to athletes.
When was the first moment you fell in love with football?
“You know, I get that question asked a lot and it probably. Believe it or not, it was my freshman year of high school. I didn't play Pop Warner or any of the youth sports at that time. Cause I didn't know anything about it.
My freshman year, you know. I get grabbed by two of my buddies and we're going for tryouts. They say they got JV tryouts, come go. I'm like I don't know what you guys are talking about. We go. I'm still have on my street clothes. I have no gear. We're out there running around.
I got on school pants and sneakers and but we're putting it in, and we go at that time and tryouts were like 2 weeks. And finally at the end of the second week, they put the list up. My name is not on it. And right then in there. It was one of those times where I've never been rejected before my life and that was the first-time rejection slapped me in the face and I kind of understood it.
And I'm like wait a minute I'm not good enough to play this game, but I like it. I like what was going on. I was out there running around. It bothered me for a whole year. My sophomore year, I vowed that I was going to make the team and they were going to have a hard time cutting me and I did. That was when I really got bit by the football bug.
I played six JV games and then the varsity team was still playing, they were getting ready to go into Thanksgiving Day game and then playoffs. And they said that they made five guys set up from JV to Varsity team. So, I was one of the 5. And so, I got to get in on Thanksgiving Day game with the Varsity team, which by the way the Varsity players were like Gods.
They were guys that in our opinion they walked on water and there were guys that I wanted to be like. I wanted to play like. And then be on the team with them. It was amazing and we ended up winning that year. The state championship game in 1975, which was in New Jersey. That was a tough division and football in New Jersey was very tough and very competitive. So, my sophomore year kind of set it off and it had me smitten. “
What makes you appreciate the game so much?
“I wish everyone could experience high school football the way I did, the way you did, the way my son did because not everybody gets that opportunity to compete successfully. You know, for the three to four years of your high school experience and let alone be around guys be around another 40 or 50 guys that at all care about winning and losing, competing, trying to make each other better and practice looking forward toward practice and then being able to go out. On Friday and Saturday and compete and make it happen.
That is the way it was to me. You know there was always somebody, setting the bar for you to get to. So, I had someone who was a senior who. Like I said I so much wanted to be like and play like and when he graduated, I took his number. I also played his position both ways on offense and defense and so I tried to emulate the same things that he did. The bar that he raised and that's the thing about high school football and that's same thing about college and pro is having the ability to raise the bar.
Not become complacent and knowing how to compete. I competed in practice. I competed in game. Always played with a high motor. I wasn't a jerk to anybody, but I wasn't bothering along with anyone, and I went hard. I'm going to make you work if I'm on defense and you're on offense I'm going to make you work on offense. And that was a thing that we all did.
We talked about Pride, character, and desire. It's still on my state championship ring and I love it because it was something that I carried on to the University of Iowa. You know, pride, character, desire, you got to have all three of those things to be successful. Those are the things those are the characteristics of all successful programs be in high school, be in college, be a pro.
Not everybody gets to experience that and not everybody understands it. I mean, you probably heard from different guys from different teams, and you hear some things and you kind of laugh about it. Like oh, that would never hap