Versatile media personality, Emmy Award winner, Pro Football Hall of Fame member and clothing designer Michael Strahan delighted show goers at the opening keynote presentation of RECon 2018 with his tips for life and his penchant for tackling jobs seemingly unbefitting a former NFL player best known for planting quarterbacks on their rear ends.
The charismatic Houston native not only serves as a football analyst on Fox NFL Sunday, he is also a co-host of the ABC TV show Good Morning America and host of ABC's $100,000 Pyramid game show. Initially stereotyped as just another former football player when he first retired, Strahan said decision makers were surprised to learn that he could do other things.
Self-doubt is one of the biggest hurdles in professional life, but Strahan's parents gave him the confidence at an early age that he could accomplish anything he set his mind to. "The biggest thing is getting out of the way of yourself," he said. "We limit ourselves more than anyone limits us." Strahan has also carved out a retail presence in the U.S. with the creation of a successful active-wear line at JCPenney called MSX by Michael Strahan.
Teamwork Kimco CEO Conor Flynn interviewed Michael Strahan at RECon
Today Strahan looks at performing his various jobs with gratitude because, he said, "these are opportunities everyone would like to have." He has long since learned "to take the ego out of things," and he suggested to the retail real estate crowd that they do the same. Noting that a lot of people in the business struggle with a work-life balance, Strahan said the family must always be the top priority. Strahan and his wife have four children.
Strahan spent his 15-year career with the NFL's New York Giants, helping the team win a Super Bowl in 2007, his final season. The defensive end set an NFL record of 22.5 quarterback sacks that has yet to be broken. He recalled his relationships with Giants coaches Jim Fassel, Dan Reeves and Tom Coughlin. The latter, he said, was the strictest — fining players heavily for lateness or other infractions: $5,000 if their phones should ring during team meetings, for instance. "At $5,000, you might as well answer it," he quipped. Always a team leader on the Giants, he was known for using his people skills to give custom pregame pep talks to every player and coach — and even to equipment managers in the locker room.
Strahan spent a good part of his childhood in Germany, at an Army base with his parents, and he says that living abroad was an eye-opener: "When you look at life from a global perspective, it really opens the world up." Teased as an overweight child, he resolved to sculpt his body with Jane Fonda workout and Herschel Walker tapes. Recognizing his son's emerging physical prowess, Strahan's dad sent him back to the U.S. to play football and to win a college scholarship, which the young man did despite having little experience with organized football. "But I did have confidence," he said.
"Make everything a team effort," Strahan said. "And don't limit yourself."
By Steve McLinden
Contributor, Shopping Centers Today