Arizona Cardinals star cornerback Patrick Peterson has made the Pro Bowl in all seven of his NFL seasons, and was named the best defensive player in college football before that. Watching on TV, what #21 does every Sunday almost looks easy at this point. But world-class athletes only reach those peaks, and can only sustain them like Peterson has, if they’re always improving.
Peterson saw other NFL players using light therapy devices and got a Joovv for his home. He says it’s been a huge game changer heading into his 8th NFL season. We talked to the best cornerback in football about how Joovvin’ has helped him sleep, think, and train. As a bonus, we chatted about how he manages pressure, why he doesn’t fear top receivers, how he trains, and much more.
Here’s the transcript of our conversation with Patrick Peterson:
Throughout most of your football career, you’ve been tasked with defending against some of the best athletes on the field—game in and game out. How have you learned to deal with that pressure on a week-to-week basis?
It comes with experience. Now that I’m going into year 8, the game has slowed down tremendously for me. I wouldn’t say I used to get stressed out, but I always wanted to be perfect at all times. Now I have the feel of the game, I know the flow and how coordinators call games, so I let myself fall into the game more than rushing into it now.
What type of food is your Achilles’ heel? In other words, if it's sitting on the counter, you can't help but take a bite?
Fried chicken wings, by far. If I see some lemon pepper chicken wings, they’re done for.
Like most athletes, you’ve had to face some adversity throughout your NFL career—probably none greater than being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2014. How did you get through that, and what advice would you give to younger athletes facing their own obstacles?
You have to be mentally tough. Sometimes when people go through things, it’s hard for them to look themselves in the mirror, but it starts with you. You know what’s inside you, what you’re capable of doing and you have to be self-motivated, confident, and be able to take the bad with the good.
If I was to call up Mrs. Peterson and ask her what things you needed to work on, what would she tell me?
My wife gets on me all the time about communication. I’ll think I told her something. In my brain, I think I said it or made it clear, but half the time, I really didn’t.
Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. Which one is keeping you up at night before a game, and why?
None of them. Those guys are great competitors, but at this point in my career, I’m not worried about names. I’m a name too, and I know they’re thinking about #21 for the Arizona Cardinals when we show up on the schedule!
What exercise do you hate the most, but yields the best results?
Beach workouts turn you from a man to a little boy very quickly. I love to train in Florida or the Bahamas, and it can wear you down. The salt dehydrates you, the humidity dehydrates you, and then you have to work through the sand. I hate doing it but it gets the best results.
You’ve experienced a tremendous amount of success throughout your football career—being a top ten recruit out of high school...
Top five (laughs). I was always top 5.
Top five recruit, a Thorpe Award winner in college, a top 5 pick in the NFL draft, 3-time First-team All-Pro and 7-time Pro Bowl player. With all this success at every level, what motivates you to get even better?
I want to put my best foot forward every game. I’m pushing myself and my team, but I’m also competing against the greats who played before me. To be recognized as one of the greats, you have to put that work in and I want to be in that conversation.
Another one is the ultimate goal: Canton, Ohio. That’s one of the things I can control, I can put in the hard work and dedication that leads to my name being called someday. Right now there are only 320 guys in the Hall of Fame. Only about 140 are alive, so that’s one special fraternity, and where I want to be at the end of my career.
You do a lot of traveling throughout the year. What are a few things you can’t leave home without?
My golf clubs gotta stay with me. Golf clubs and swimming trunks, the rest I can find on the way.
You’ve recently implemented the Joovv into your daily routine. What are your thoughts on light therapy, and would you recommend it to others?
Light therapy has been great. I was introduced to it through the Cardinals originally. Then I saw Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee with a Joovv and said I gotta have one of those. It’s been great using mine at home because I don’t have to rush into the facility all the time anymore. My energy level is up, my mental game is much clearer, and the way I sleep & feel is totally different since I implemented Joovv. I would definitely recommend every athlete who wants to continue to be successful, and stay at the top level, get a Joovv because it’s definitely been a game changer for me.