The National Collegiate Athletic Association college football season is underway and there are many storylines that have the country buzzing. Can the University of Georgia Bulldogs win a third national championship for the third season in a row? Can Caleb Williams of the University of Southern California Trojans win a second straight Heisman Trophy designating him the best player in college football? But undoubtedly, the biggest story this season is the Prime Time effect in Boulder, Colorado, where the Colorado Buffaloes football team is led by Deion “Prime Time” Sanders.
Sanders is a hall-of-fame football player who played and excelled in both, Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Being a professional athlete has granted him a lot of fame, fortune, and a boatload of endorsements allowing him to rake in a continual cash flow. But to me, his biggest impact is his relationship with his kids and the football players he’s coached over the past several years. It’s seen in his interviews and how he communicates with his players on the sidelines. He has two sons on the team, but he treats all of his players like their his sons. He wants the best out of them and the best for them. And like all coaches should know, sometimes he plays the role of surrogate father. A mentor for young men and young women as they traverse sports with life.
My novel, My Invisible Father, contains a similar theme: Sometimes young people can find father figures in teachers, godparents, uncles, and coaches. And Deion Sanders is not only playing that role for some of his players, but he’s also doing well as a coach. His name and fame have brought a highly visible program at Colorado, a program that won one game last season. So far this season at the beginning of October, the football has a winning record of three wins and two losses. That may not seem to be outstanding, but their two losses were against the tenth-ranked team, the University of Oregon, and the eighth-ranked USC Trojans Oregon gave Colorado their first loss of the year in a 42-6 blowout. However, against USC and Caleb Williams, barely escaped with a victory in a 48-41 win.
At the time of this writing, the University of Colorado football team has four wins and two losses and the reality is if the Buffaloes finish the season with a 6-6 record, that’s a drastic change from one season to the next. And the amount of revenue Sanders’ Prime Time brand is generating makes that change not only visible but profitable as well. Deion wrote a biography titled Power, Money, and Sex in 1999. In the book, he explains how he transformed from a bad boy and a rich athlete to a God-fearing man. A change just as worthy as the change his football team is experiencing now.