I was fortunate to play with some great quarterbacks in my career, two of whom will be in the Hall of Fame: Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. One common denominator among the greats is that they start 16 games every season, year after year after year. Yes, luck and genetics play a role in their longevity, but there’s another aspect that many fans wouldn’t expect – their dedication in the weight room.
I’ve had many conversations with NFL fans and they’re always surprised when I tell them that quarterbacks spend as much time in the weight room as linemen. Obviously, they don’t lift to gain bulk like linemen do, but their ‘intelligent’ weightlifting helps create overall strength and makes them less prone to injury. All year round, I would see Favre and Manning in the weight room, focusing on core training, hip flexors (which helped them with completing their throwing motion) and arm strength (often with bands). Their weightlifting mentality wasn’t for brute strength; I never saw them attempt a dead lift or power clean. Instead, their training plan helps them maintain consistent strength, agility and flexion, allowing them to be prepared to play every game, every season.
Obviously, there is more that goes into being a Hall of Fame quarterback than weight training; the best players are gifted with ability and spend insane amounts of time studying film, which helps them be mentally prepared to play the game. However, their time in the weight room helps them be physically prepared – prepared to play, and prepared to escape injury. Being well prepared physically allows them to focus on the game, knowing they’ve created a solid structure to guide their team for years to come.
Tony Mandarich was born in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the son of Croatian immigrants. Tony grew up with a love for football, and decided early in his life that he would play professionally. After a highly successful and nationally publicized collegiate career at Michigan State University, Tony was drafted number two overall in 1989 by the Green Bay Packers. The hype about being “the best offensive line prospect ever,” along with Tony’s addictions was more than he could live up to and his life came crashing down around him. After three more years of alcohol and painkiller abuse, Tony accepted the hand of God, went into treatment and now considers it a privilege to be able to help other addicts and alcoholics when called upon.
Tony and his wife, Charlavan, have four children; they own and operate an Internet Marketing company (www.mandarich.com) in Scottsdale, Arizona, a full-service web media business specializing in web site development and optimization, video production, photography and Internet marketing. Be sure to visit his gallery on Mandarich Studios website for sports fitness (men and women), portaits and beauty/fashion photography.