True to its author, Deion Sanders’ Elevate and Dominate: 21 Ways to Win On and Off the Field, due to be published on March 12, is packed with lofty rhetoric, underneath which lie some serviceable kernels of wisdom. Our biggest criticism? Prime rarely uses anecdotes from his first year as the University of Colorado Boulder’s head football coach to illustrate his points—a tactic that would have earned the book immediate induction into our state’s literary canon. So we did it for him.

On Self-Belief

    “Learn how to make confidence your natural odor, the unmistakable scent that’s part of your everyday life.”

When it comes to Neon Deion, this axiom doesn’t really need further elucidation: The sweet smell of swagger engulfs him like a cloud. Even a 42-6 drumming by the Oregon Ducks couldn’t extinguish his stank. After the defeat, Sanders told reporters: “Better get me right now. This is the worst we’re going to be.”

On Good Mornings

    “However you start your day, your engine needs some fuel. That means protein.”

Sanders began his reign in Boulder by touring some of the town’s venerable eateries, including the nearly 30-year-old Buff Restaurant, where he scarfed steak and egg whites. Not only did Prime need that gas to power his turnaround of CU’s downtrodden team, but by reviewing his meals on Instagram, he endeared himself to his new hometown.

On Leadership

    “Be specific about what you expect.”

This commitment to specificity might explain why Sanders told the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen what he expects of his defensive linemen: “Single mama, trying to get it, he’s on free lunch. I’m talking about just trying to make it. He’s trying to rescue Mama.” While the quote earned the coach a heap of criticism, it hasn’t hampered recruitment—at press time, that position group made up about half of the Buffs’ incoming class.

On Team-Building

    “To get the results you want in the MATHEMATICS OF LIFE, you’ve got to surround yourself with the right kind of folks.”

And that means cutting ties with the wrong kind of folks. In 2023, Sanders’ arithmetic looked like this: If you subtract 50 Buffs from 2022’s 1-11 team and add 70 scholarship players, what do you get? The largest roster overhaul in college football history. Unfortunately, that only equaled three more wins.

On Perception

    “Looking good is an investment in YOU.”

Colorado State University head football coach Jay Norvell called out Sanders before the Buffs-Rams tilt in September for refusing to take his sunglasses off when speaking to “grown-ups.” What Norvell obviously didn’t know is that winning attire engenders a winning attitude: Sanders gave his entire team the shades in question (Blender Eyewears’ Prime 21 sunglasses), so we can only assume the specs proved the difference in CU’s narrow victory over its in-state rival.

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