Huntsville Al, - (al.com) NFL Hall of Famer members Emmitt Smith, Ronnie Lott and Anthony Munoz played in Super Bowls, were watched by millions on television and went head-to-head with legendary players. So how did they deal with all the pressure?
That was one of the questions posed at the second annual John Stallworth Legends Round Table tonight at the Von Braun Center's Concert Hall.
"I don't know about pressure because the thing that was on my mind was, I do not want to be 'that guy'," said Smith, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL's all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns. "I don't want to be the guy that makes the major mistakes. I want to be the guy who makes the play. I wanted the ball in my hands and I wanted them to give me the opportunity. I ran toward the pressure.
"I think I feel more pressure today raising five kids than I did in any sporting event I ever played in."
Munoz, who played offensive tackle in two Super Bowls for the Cincinnati Bengals, expressed a line of thinking similar to Smith.
"In my life I can say that there was a fear of failure," said Munoz, a three-time NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year. "I don't know, maybe that is pressure. That's what drove me as a player and that's what drives me as a person.
"I did not want to fail, so I was pushing myself. I do that as a husband and a dad. I push myself and push myself to try to win again. You chase greatness, but you're always chasing. As long as you chase, chase, chase, and never be satisfied, and understand and believe that we're not going to get there."
Lott, a teammate of Munoz of USC turned Super Bowl foe as a safety with the San Francisco 49ers, took a different approach as a defensive player.
"When you're an offensive player, you dictate the opportunity," said Lott, who picked off 63 passes during his career with the 49ers, Raiders and Jets. "We have to wait, we have to react. Receivers can beat us. What's amazing to me is, after pressure and after losing the battle or somebody beating you, how do you get back up the next play and still have that attitude of, 'yeah, you got me, but I'm going to come back and get you?'"
The panel touched on numerous topics during the 90-minute session, including transitioning to their life after football (all three are involved in charity work and/or a business), motivation, staying focused, role models and how they chose the individual who gave their Hall of Fame ceremony introduction.
The event or organized by the John Stallworth Foundation, whose namesake - an Alabama A&M graduate and Hall of Fame receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers - served as panel moderator.