The ‘Left Tackles’ in our Lives

Blindside (v.) – to tackle, hit, or attack (an opponent) from the blind side.

I just finished reading The Blind Side by Michael Lewis; the film was released last Friday.

Here's a synopsis from the backcover:

When we first meet him, Michael Oher is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he doesn't know his real name, his father, his birthday or how to read and write.  He takes up football, and school, after a rich, white, Evangelical family plucks him from the streets.  Then two great forces alter Oher:  the family's love and the evolution of football into a game where the quarterback must be protected at any cost.  Our protagonist becomes the priceless package of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback's greatest vulnerability, his blind side.

Here's what's interesting.

The left tackle, the player guarding the quarterback's blind side, goes largely unnoticed by the general public because the camera follows the ball.  It's in the quarterback's hands.  He hands it off to a running back, or throws it to a receiver.  The camera follows them into the end zone.  Touchdown.  These are the players that the media tells us are important.  I don't follow football, but I can name quarterbacks and receivers (Tom Brady, Chad Ocho Cinco, LaDanian Tomlinson).  Left tackle?  Nary a one.  I didn't even know the position existed until I read this book.


Yet, if the left tackle does his job, the quarterback not only avoids being sacked by linebackers like Lawrence Taylor whose “instinct is to find the quarterback and kill him”, he remains injury-free, and he has the time needed to throw touchdown-producing, headline-grabbing passes.

Which is why the camera may not follow the left tackle, but the team owners do — and have the big, fat canceled checks to prove it.  According to Lewis, “In 2004, the
average NFL left tackle salary was $5.5 million a year, and the left
tackle had become the second highest paid position on the field after
the quarterback.”

We all have a blind side.

Because it's blind, we can't see the people who are guarding against attacks from our opponents.

Which means — of all the people that we need to be grateful for, it's ‘left tackles in our lives' we're mostly likely to overlook.  Like my husband.  And a few dear friends.

Who are your ‘left tackles”?
Are you like the media who follows the ball, blind to these key players?
Or do you have an owner-like view of their value?

Either way, will you tell these individuals thank you very soon?

In fact, why not today?

P.S.  I don't play football.  If you do, and I'm getting this wrong, or there are nuances I've missed, do share.

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