December 20, 2021

NFL Great Joe Theismann Huddles With ACA Connects Members Online

For football great Joe Theismann, it’s always first and 10, with plenty of time on the clock. He’s nothing but an optimist!

That’s the case whether he’s recounting his approach to college or pro football at the quarterback position or explaining how he flourished as a TV analyst, entrepreneur and local businessman after his NFL days were over.

Joe Theismann, businessman? We know he won the Super Bowl in 1983 running the offense for the Washington Football Team (then called the Redskins). But Joe knows how to run a business? Yes, he does.

He’s owned and operated Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Va., since 1975. Experts say most new restaurants don’t last more than five years.

ACA Connects members were fortunate to take in Joe Theismann’s upbeat analysis and personal achievements during a virtual happy hour on Dec. 3. The one-hour event was filled with great moments and solid insights into building a successful life and career while managing through the tough times, which we all will face.

“I never had a failure in my life, only an educational experience that did not go my way,” said Theismann, who turned 72 in September.

Customer service is key to owning a successful business: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” Theismann said.

The online session would not have been possible without the sponsorship of ACA Connects Associate Member OpenVault, whose CEO and Founder Mark Trudeau (a Cowboys fan) guided the discussion in a team effort along with ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka (a Steelers fan).

Theismann had a lot to say about COVID-19. He believes the impact of the deadly and highly contagious virus will be felt for a long time, and changes to society – such as work from home and doing various things virtually – will be permanent.

“We are not going to go back to what was normal,” he said. “I hear people say, ‘I can’t wait for things to get back to normal.’ They are not. We have created a new normal.”

Theismann said he knew that ACA Connects Members had to make major adjustments to serve their customers, underscoring the importance of hiring professionals with indispensable technical skills.

“I think the techs in your industry are a lot like the offensive line,” Theismann said. “If you don’t have good ones, you don’t have a chance to survive.

On looking for new workers, Theismann said he relies on advice he got from his former NFL coach, Joe Gibbs. “I look for character, intelligence and ability,” Theismann said, quoting Gibbs verbatim.

When it comes to pursuing new ventures, Theismann said to set your goals high and remain focused.

“Don’t ever let anybody tell you [that] you can’t do something,” he said. “I’ve never seen a bad game plan, just lousy execution.”

Theismann’s NFL career came to a sudden end in 1985 when he broke his leg from a devastating hit in a game against the New York Giants.

“I had to change my life,” Theismann said.

The instant loss of his NFL career forced him to map a new life plan. He said this approach worked for him and hopes it works for others: “Take a pen in hand: What do you want personally, professionally, spiritually and financially? You’d be amazed how your life starts to go in that direction.”

But it takes commitment, he said.

“Don’t be a rudderless ship, going from one thing to another thing,” he said. “Put a plan together for yourself, a game plan for yourself.”

If our Members and Associate Members didn’t see the talk with Joe or if you want to watch it again, you can find it in the webinar replay section of our ACA Connects’ Member Lounge at