Pete Bercich, the son of a former NFL player, had one dream as a kid growing up in Joliet, Ill. – to fly fighter planes for the Air Force. A successful high school football career at Providence Catholic High School prompted him to reevaluate his plans. After being recruited by many of the best collegiate football, he decided to play football at Notre Dame before going on to play seven more seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. Bercich now lives in Minnesota with his wife Amy and three children, ages 12, 10, and 8. One of his current interests is radio broadcasting and he will be part of the Minnesota Vikings broadcast team this season. Here is a look back with Pete Bercich.
Q: You have said that your first love was baseball. What made you decide to play football at the collegiate level?
A: “Baseball was what I loved to do, but then I realized in high school that mentally it was not what I wanted to do. It did not suit me. Baseball is all about dealing with failure. Effort means a lot, but it does not mean as much in baseball as it does in football. How I dealt with failure (in both baseball and football) was getting pissed off. I didn’t deal with failure well at all. In football, if you work hard, you will probably have success. I also learned that it was much easier to take out my frustrations in football, than it was in baseball.”
“At the end of my sophomore year in high school I realized I could play with the seniors and hold my own. We won state that year, and I felt like I was definitely part of the turning point of that team. During junior year letters started showing up from big schools … Miami, Southern Cal, Michigan, Penn State. My father played in the NFL. He played on the original Dallas Cowboy team, and both my parents went to Michigan State. My Dad never talked about football, though. He maybe had one football picture in the house. I think that took a lot of pressure off me.”
“One thing I will say about high school football, your high school teammates are the friends you will keep all your life. In college, you may keep a friend or two. If you play in the NFL, you may keep one or two there as well. Your high school playing days are your glory days. They stay with you with you forever.”
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