I have to be honest in that I don’t watch as much football as I used to due to the NFL taking stances on political issues these days. I also question the integrity of the sport due to the officiating in so many games where the best team doesn’t always win because of blatantly blown calls. But I remind myself it’s a national pastime rich with history and that the NFL has given me some cherished memories of a lifetime that I’ve been able to share with family and friends. That said I really enjoyed Superbowl LVI and here are some insights that I took away from it that I think transcend the sport itself.
Who you are surrounded by has profound implications on your legacy.
Matthew Stafford was the number one draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2009 where he played for 12 seasons. During that time his 2,634 total completions, 30,303 passing yards, 187 passing touchdowns, and 86.8 passer rating are the highest figures in each category ever set by any Lions quarterback. But despite being the all-time leader he was, he still had a losing record of 74-90-1. Like so many great athletes he was and is dependent on the talent, or their lack of, around him.
However, after being traded to LA in 2021, for the first time ever he led his team to a Superbowl. In only one year’s time with a different cast of characters, he had finally ascended to compete in the league’s most coveted contest. He achieved the highest honor and reached the esteemed pinnacle of an NFL career in that he finally won a Superbowl after 14 long hard seasons. Surrounded by Superbowl MVP and triple crown winner Cooper Kupp, along with other premier talent in the likes of Aaron Donald, Andrew Whitworth, Von Miller, Jalen Ramsey, and Odell Beckham Jr, Stafford finally had the all-star cast he needed to go all the way. Who you do life with and who you choose to compete with, whether in sports or business, matters.
Sometimes you have to go all in to win.
Way before Stafford showed up on the scene in LA the Rams were mortgaging their future. Starting in 2016 all the way through 2024 general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay had traded their first-round draft picks to assemble the team that won them Superbowl 56. Yes, they gave up seven years of first-round draft picks to get the talent they believed would take them all the way to the Superbowl. And as perilous a risk as it was, it paid off. They both put their multi-million-dollar careers, and more importantly, their legacies on the line with calculated risks because sometimes you just have to go all in to win.
And finally, always finish strong.
What I loved most about this year’s playoffs leading up to the Superbowl was just how competitive the teams were all the way up to the end. In the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills divisional round playoff game, the lead changed three times in the final two minutes. It was undoubtedly the most exciting football game I had ever watched. Both teams had committed to give it everything they had so much so that at the end of regulation it took an overtime period to decide the winner. In fact, Patrick MaHomes took it to overtime by moving the ball 44 yards into field goal position with just two pass plays in the last 17 seconds.
In the same spirit, Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald all made key plays for LA at the end of their game to finish strong and win their Superbowl.
To wrap this up, as I said at the beginning of this blog, these three insights transcend the sport of football itself. In fact, I’m reminded that my business partner Ben Jones and I have surrounded ourselves with a team of talented health insurance agents with whom we’ve gone all in to win. In our first year in business, they helped us hit our goal of $3M on the very last day of our fiscal year demonstrating the hearts of champions who always finish strong. At the end of our second year in business, they finished even stronger with $4.4M in production.And for that, and for them, I couldn’t be more thankful.