Today is the Super Bowl in America – the football game that determines which team is the champion. Over the years, I have watched football off and on. Until a few months ago, I hadn’t developed a real interest in the sport. I already understood the basics of the game from watching it in the past. What I learned recently though is that the sport is about much more than I had realized.
The players have to be in excellent physical shape. They also need to understand strategy. Strategy is important for winning the game – both offensive and defensive strategy. Teamwork is critical as well. The strategy needs to focus on leveraging the strengths of the team members and the weaknesses of the other team. Each team member is important because his performance can make or break a play.
I realized that what you can learn from watching football can be applied in your life and in business. Valuable lessons can be learned if you are aware of what happened and why. Let’s take an example. One of the best teams this season was the New England Patriots, with the wonderful combination of Belichick (the coach) and Brady (the quarterback). These two were important for the team, in addition to the strategic planning and execution of all the teammates (including the other coaching staff and players). There was a rivalry with the New York Jets. Prior to the second match of these two teams this season, the coach of the Jets bragged that the his team would win. It was a crushing defeat, with the Patriots winning by 45 to 3.
Then, the next match between these two teams happened during the playoffs. This time, the Jets beat the Patriots. It was surprising to see how well their strategies worked. During the game, one of Brady’s passes was intercepted by the Jets – his first interception in over 300 passes! It was obvious at the end that Belichick and Brady were both stunned by the turn of events.
What happened? I think that the Jets desperately wanted to save face after their prior match and that they worked very hard preparing for this game. They had something to fight for! The Patriots, on the other hand, seemed to be off. Their strategy was not as good as it normally was. I also think that an important lesson to learn is to leave the past in the past. When a play does not go well, it is important to stay focused on the present and let it go. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Super Bowl. The quarterback of the Packers (Rodgers) is not only an exceptional player, but also able to stay in the present quite well.