On Sunday, Jets kicker Jay Feely entered the record book for consecutive field goals made as a Jet, breaking a record held by Pat Leahy for over 20 years. Feely's success on the field has been tremendous, yet his feel for using his stature in athletics in a major market to develop a long term vision for success may be even more impressive. As documented in several media outlets this past week, including Greg Bishop's feature in the New York Times, the Jets kicker has been able to find ways using both social and traditional media to build his brand, and give both casual and diehard fans a little more insight into what he is all about. The result is an athlete who has a presence now in media where he feels well adjusted, well read and well thought out, in both the sports and the political world, and he has been able to use that exposure to build out a potential second career, not just when his athletic days end, but in the offseason when he has more time to focus on the long term. Although some will say it may be easier for an athlete who happens to be a kicker to have more free time to delve into other things (probably an unfair assumption as the special teams performers of the NFL may have the most tenuous place on a roster most times), the truth of the matter is that Feely's work in looking into leadership roles, both in sports and in society and social media, and then parlaying that interest into a vibrant career is both rare and admirable. One must keep in mind that Feely does not have the flash and dash of Twitter success stories like Shaquille O’Neal or Chad Ochocinco, and his posts may be a little more cerebral and outward looking than most athletes. On the political side, he is not the lightning rod for controversy, but his thoughts have gotten him placement with Sean Hannity on a regular basis on FOX, and could lead to a larger role in the future. Will it lead to big time endorsements, even in the media capital of the worl. No. However Feely's work is a great example of an athlete understanding the limits of time in the limelight and using that time to effectively build his brand, whether that brand is in the media or in business. The fact that he has been able to embrace and understand the value of a social media platform as a communication device for thoughts makes it all the more impressive, and can give his career a kickstart for the longterm, even as he continues to kick for the green and white.
Some other good reads…Parade.com had a good profile by John Feinstein of NFL Comish Roger Goodell…Terry Lyons on his blog has a look at the detail surrounding the fallout of writer Dave Scheiber leaving the St. Petersburg Times and what it says about the newspaper industry today…and the Baltimore Sun had a good profile of Under Armour president David McCreight.