As a lifelong New England Patriots fan, Sunday's Super Bowl was a sport-watching roller coaster like none other.
In addition to being an awesome inspirational adrenalin rush from the desperate competitive effort displayed by both teams, this game like few in recent memory served up many tasty nuggets of business value and wisdom.
Here are my top five:
#5. Nothing is Over Until it is Over. Let’s say it again and again. In football, life, and business, it is always best to just keep playing, with every ounce of our best effort, until that clock hits 0:00.
At one point, according to ESPN Stats & Info’s probability chart, the Patriots' chances of winning had dropped below 1%.
It is cliche because it is true: always we must keep at it, keep giving our all, both because you never know and as importantly...
...we owe it to the game, to our lives, to our businesses, to always give it everything we’ve got.
#4. Tom Brady. Has there ever been anyone in the public eye with such bountiful blessings of the good life who has also maintained their competitive fire for so long and so effectively?
What I see when I watch Tom Brady play is a deep and abiding love of the game.
And the byproduct of that love is that what matters above all else is not yesterday's victories or accomplishments, no matter how impressive they might be, nor those games to be played "someday" but this game right here, right now.
Business, at its best, is like this too.
What will we do for our clients and customers today?
How hard will we work to make our product / our service as great as it possibly can be?
How much will we strive to improve ourselves? To be the best?
Or if we are already at the top of our profession, what will we do and sacrifice to maintain that level as age tries to chip it away?
#3. Aggressiveness is Great, Planning is Better. The Atlanta Falcons made it to the Super Bowl and built a seemingly insurmountable lead in it through one of the greatest offenses in league history.
Their game plan and team identity all season was one of aggressiveness and risk taking.
This is nice, but it doesn’t win Super Bowls.
At many points in Sunday’s game just a little more thoughtfulness in their decision making would have resulted in them making a play or two that would have easily won them the game.
But they were seemingly blinded by too firm a commitment to a style of play even when the game's circumstances no longer warranted it.
Sure, let’s be confident and aggressive in our plans and actions, but let’s also remember that these are just tools toward higher goals and not ends in themselves.
#2. Losing is Terrible. No matter their future accomplishments, the Falcons’ players and coaches will never forget this loss.
This can’t and shouldn’t be sugar-coated. The hard truth is that winning is so much better than losing that it’s not even in the same universe.
In sports and business, you’ve got to win.
And yes in a higher number of scenarios than perhaps we would like to admit, to do so by any means necessary.
Because on very many levels nothing else matters.
#1. It is Just a Game. The paradoxical corollary to the above is that even though the Super Bowl is the biggest game played each season, in the end it is just one game.
And at the Monday press conference the morning after it, Patriot's coach Bill Belichick, after winning arguably the greatest of them ever played, already was talking about getting ready for the first game of next season.
Yes the great ones know it, both intuitively and from a lifetime of hard work and repetition that...
...you just give it all you got, to the final whistle, playing with both your head and your heart...
and hate losing as much as you love to win and then always it is...
...onto the next game.
This is how Brady, Belichick, and the Patriots do it, and how in our businesses we should too.