Tech companies and NFL quarterbacks have a surprising amount in common.
While tech stocks carry outsize influence, often dictating the direction of the whole market, professional football teams are also at the whim of their signal-callers. The market would crash if tech stocks started failing — the dot-com bubble anyone? — just in the way an injury to an NFL team’s starting quarterback usually spells certain disaster.
Now, as the NFL season kicks off, many casual football fans are trying to get up to speed on which players and teams to watch. And there’s no better place to start than with the guys who are throwing the passes.
Below is a breakdown to help make sense of it all, with a special focus on the tech companies that best embody some of the league’s most notable quarterbacks.
Aaron Rodgers is Amazon
It took Amazon and Rodgers years of quietly toiling away at their respective trades, plotting world domination, for them to break out and realize their immense potential. Amazon is now disrupting every industry in sight, while Rodgers is continuing his reign of terror over opposing defenses and once is again expected to carry his team to a fantastic season. And, like Amazon, Rodgers is showing no signs of slowing.
Also notable is how both Amazon and Rodgers faced their share of doubters during their respective ascents. Short-sighted pessimists first questioned Amazon’s initial foray into online bookselling and then scratched their heads when the retail juggernaut broadened its scope. Rodgers suffered the indignity of slipping to the 24th pick in the NFL draft, despite being projected as a top selection, and then was stuck as Favre’s understudy for three full seasons.
Tom Brady is Apple
The two undisputed kings of their respective fields. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a five-time Super Bowl champion and a two-time NFL MVP, and he is widely considered to be one of the best to ever play the game. Apple is the biggest company in the world, is still growing rapidly, and holds more cash than many small nations.
Both Brady and Apple got where they are today because of legendary leadership. Brady has benefited greatly from the tutelage of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, one of the greatest and winningest coaches in NFL history. Apple prospered under the visionary guidance of CEO Steve Jobs, who designed such landscape-altering products as the iPhone during his tenure.
That’s not to say the two have always had it easy. Brady tore an ACL in his team’s first game in 2008 and missed the rest of the season. Similarly, Jobs was fired in 1985, a move that almost destroyed the company. Needless to say, both entities bounced back, and today they are viewed as unstoppable forces.
Cam Newton is Facebook
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton experienced almost immediate success upon entering the NFL in 2011, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and eventually carrying his team to the Super Bowl. Facebook initially had a little tougher time gathering steam, but it still managed to grow its market cap by roughly 50% over its first two years after going public in 2012. It has since become one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Further, Newton is already one of the elite few to have been named an NFL MVP (in 2015), while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of roughly $70 billion.
That’s not to say their respective ascents were without hiccups — both were accused of stealing early in their careers. Newton was suspended from the University of Florida football team in 2008 after he was arrested on suspicion of stealing a laptop from another student, while Zuckerberg was sued over claims that he stole the idea for Facebook from the Winklevoss twins.
They both recovered swiftly. Newton transferred to Auburn, where he won a national championship and the Heisman Trophy as the country’s top player, while Zuckerberg was able to move past the lawsuit to become the highly respected billionaire CEO he is today.