Josh Rosen, Top NFL QB Prospect, Downgraded By Some Because "Millennial"


In the recent NFL draft in April, this year’s top NFL quarterback prospects were Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Rosen. Rosen, a product of UCLA, has been criticized by his former head coach Jim Mora as needing “to be challenged intellectually” because Rosen is “a millennial.”

Mora explained his remark, saying “He wants to know why. Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interests in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire. He has so much ability, and he’s a really good kid.”

Based on the year of Rosen’s birth, and the standard generational breakdowns, Rosen is actually a member of Generation Z, having been born in 1997. Nevertheless, Mora’s comments were interpreted as a black mark against Rosen. Millennial, in this instance, was seen as a slight.

The NFL dominates the media cycle in the sports world, garnering constant attention in the regular season, heightened focus in the playoffs, global attention during the Super Bowl, and endless chatter in the offseason about draft picks, roster construction, and developments at camps and mini-camps. In spite of the negative press the past couple of years that have led to a slip in television ratings, the NFL remains Americans favorite sport to watch.

Each year during the lead up to the draft there is a ton of discussion about each team, the needs of teams holding top picks, and whether or not the top quarterback prospects are difference makers. That’s why Mora’s comments turned a lot of heads. Some came to Rosen’s defense. Rosen posted this response on Twitter. If Rosen succeeds in the NFL he’ll be a superstar not only in the sports world, but likely in the broader culture.

Jacob Bogage brings up Rosen’s status as a Millennial in this column for The Washington Post, which also explores Rosen’s Jewish faith. Bogage also notes that Tony Kornheiser, a sports writer known for his columns for The Washington Post and as a commentator on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, called Mora’s comments anti-Semitic.

There are a couple of lessons that can be learned from this kerfuffle. First, the church isn’t alone in the analysis that generational differences do exist. Long standing institutions must change and adapt in order to connect and to succeed as emerging generations step into positions of leadership. The church is facing this challenge just like the NFL. And second, Mora is right to explain that Millennials relate differently to those in positions of authority. Millennials don’t only want to know what to do, but why to do it the way they have been asked to do it.

While for some that might seem a bit tedious, rest easy. A fruit of the Spirit is patience.