Fouts is a Hall of Fame quarterback who spent his entire career (1973-1987) with the San Diego Chargers. Along with his head coach, Don Coryell, Fouts aided in ushering in the current era of high-octane NFL passing.
Whereas Fouts is in the Hall of Fame, his coach has been left out by voters. As to why that might be, Fouts answered that he "would have to ask all those voters voting against him each time," but added that he was sure that "the consensus would be that he never won the Super Bowl."
I've talked myself blue in the face and will continue to be an advocate for his induction. He's influenced the way the game is played today more than any coach in the last 30 years.
Now, Fouts is partnering with the NFL to help usher another generation of players though the NFL Run Series and NFL Play 60. The program sets up 5K runs across the country in NFL cities with the finish line being on the NFL team's field. It's a neat program that aims to get kids active and, as Fouts notes, "gives fans a chance to get into their stadium."
To look at it more pragmatically, Fouts also points out that the NFL is also "increasing [its] audience" by aiming to engage a younger audience, and that this is a part of the NFL's Play 60 PR push to that end.
On what it would take for one of these kids to make it to the NFL, Fouts replied:
There is no easy formula, it's different for everybody. The common denominator is hard work and also enjoying what you're doing. To get to the NFL, I would recommend that you set goals that are attainable and not look at the end result as being the NFL. Set a goal. Accomplish it, and keep that upward trajectory.
The line about "enjoying what you're doing" piqued my interested—especially after speaking with Barry Sanders and learning that he really stopped enjoying the day-to-day grind of NFL life toward the end of his career. Fouts said that he enjoyed going to the locker room, hanging out with the guys and going to the daily meetings.
Fouts also said, however, that he could imagine how being on a losing team might change that perception.
Of course, Fouts is also well-connected to the current crop of NFL players as an announcer for CBS—a position he's served in for various networks since 1988. Fouts is no stranger to breaking down QB play on the air, so I asked him to do so for Bleacher Report.
He declined to name the "best" quarterback in the NFL, but said that his favorite quarterback to watch is Green Bay Packers passer Aaron Rodgers, noting "his ability to throw so accurately on the run or in the pocket," and that "he can reach every inch of the field with his arm."
Concerning the younger crop of NFL passers, Fouts said that he "enjoy[s] watching [Seattle Seahawks] Russell Wilson a lot. He's a great scrambler. He can escape problems as well as any of these younger ones."
He also said that he hopes Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III "comes back to where he was before he was injured," and called San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick "a special passer."
As a group, Fouts said about these young passers that he "can't wait to see what they do next. That's the fun part about what they can present each Sunday. You know you'll see something and say, 'Wow.'"
Michael Schottey is the NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained by the author.