Passion, Not Emotion

July 19th, 2016
Mike Smith can do without emotional players.

Mike Smith can do without emotional players.

Until the Bucs check in at One Buc Palace to report for training camp next week, Joe will try to get in the mind of defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

Joe will regularly deliver excerpts and/or highlights from Smith’s book, “You Win in the Locker Room,” available on Google Play and iTunes.

Smith not just encourages, but loves when his players play with a great passion for the game. However, he isn’t too fond of emotional players.

What’s the difference? Smith explains in his book.

“… [Passion] involves a belief about something. Emotions involve feelings about something. You want to be a passionate leader who makes decisions based on belief and principle over those that are based on feeling. After all, you won’t always feel like doing the right thing, but if you live based on belief and principle, you will do what needs to be done. Sometimes you don’t feel like working hard, but your belief in improvement and growth moves you to do it. When you have a belief in something, there is a process that you have gone through to form that belief. When you are passionate about a subject, you are well versed in it and the decisions that you make are going to be well thought out and studied. Emotion, on the other hand, causes you to act in illogical ways more often than not. An emotional decision is usually a spur-of-the-moment, by-the-seat-of-your-pants decision that has not been well thought out and often leads to poor outcomes. Emotions are hard to control, and they are usually self-serving and illogical, weakening your leadership. Passion, on the other hand, is the engine that drives you to be a great leader and build a winning team.”

To Joe, this spells Derrick Brooks. Double-nickel was a passionate guy, but no one was smarter than he was. He studied film relentlessly and put his emotions to work to fuel his desire to improve. In other words, Brooks channeled his emotion into his principles, being the best he could be and, in turn, a Hall of Fame player.

This is what Smith speaks of — channeling that emotional love of the game into work, smart work, being the best you can be. Let that emotion drive you to be passionate.

Jumping around on the field like a village idiot after a tackle for a six-yard gain when you are trailing by three scores, or going Bob Gibson with a football after you are tackled at the goal trailing by two scores late in the game may show emotion and look cool for NFL Films, but it just makes you look stupid.

14 Responses to “Passion, Not Emotion”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe, best article yet on Mike Smith. His writings on passion vs emotion hit the nail right on the head. Good example of using Derrick Brooks as the passionate leader … I’m convinced that Jameis falls into that same category.

  2. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    There was a lot of stupid on that field last year!

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    great post joe… brooks analogy is dead on…

  4. D-Rome Says:

    Smith not just encourages, but loves when his players play with a great passion for the game. However, he isn’t too fond of emotional players.

    Let’s not forget that Mike Smith’s teams in Atlanta were among the least passionate teams in the NFL during his tenure especially the last couple of seasons there. I saw Matt Ryan take cheap shot after cheap shot and none of his players showed any passion to stick up for their teammate. It’s one of the reasons why Arthur Blank fired him.

  5. The Buc Realist Says:


    I am loving the insights that you are pulling from the book!!! Wish you would have consulted with me first though!!!! I would have told you that this should have been many video segments in the fire side chat mode!!! Every Evening Joe puts down the tumbler of alcohol and then precedes to read selected parts from the book in front of the library/study!!!!!

    Also Joe, There are two questions that you should ask Coach Smitty when you have a chance. 1.) how much of this philosophy from the book will he try to implement this year??? 2.) how do you get your idea’s to condense to reinforce this during game time????

    A great example of this is when coach rah would yell at his players to “don’t ride the roller coaster” Which they stressed during the offseason, of being emotionally stable. And to quickly remind players to temper the highs and forget the low’s quickly during the chaotic times of the games!!!
    ( I think Herm was one of the first I ever heard use this term, But coach rah used it a lot )

  6. Buccfan37 Says:

    All I can go on is my gut feeling and of course what I read here, Mike Smith will make the Bucs better.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Great idea Realist. That would’ve been “must see TV”!
    Joe, this is a great series. Good job!

  8. The Buc Realist Says:

    I have to disagree with Joe, He is close, But the smartest, most calculating Buc of all time is the great, Future Hall of Famer, Mr Rhonde Barber!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Mike Johnson Says:

    I could care less about passion or emotion. Wouldn’t care if the team became drones. Just WIN. Winning is all that matters come Sunday evening. Come up from the cellar or stay in it. Its that..simple.

  10. William Walls Says:

    Thank you for your well thought-out input, Troll Johnson.

  11. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the compliments guys. Much appreciated.

  12. tmaxcon Says:

    Mike Johnson

    you clearly have never played nor understand sports if you don’t believe emotion does not play a role in the flow of the game.

  13. jerseybuc Says:

    The more I hear from Mike Smith the more I like him.
    Emotion has to be managed, and you can’t play an entire game too hyped or you will lose energy and focus. Passion, if you are lucky to have it, is something that is with you all the time. It is also a trait of the best performers at almost any endeavor in life.
    It is going to be nice to see leadership return to our sideline.

  14. SCBucsFan Says:

    Mike Johnson

    Your comments are all the same thing. Why do you even bother commenting? We know your opinion without you stating it.