Scoot: What Super Bowl XLVIII teaches us about life
by Scoot,posted Feb 3 2014 6:13PM
The point spread for the Super Bowl may have made the Denver Broncos a 2 to 2 ½ point favorite over the Seattle Seahawks, but the overwhelming consensus nationally favored the Broncos and Peyton Manning by more than the point spread. The Broncos were anointed by many before the game even started.
Going into the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning had a super season, setting more individual records. The Broncos had the #1 rated offense behind Manning and Seattle had the #1 rated defense, which on paper set up the perfect Super Bowl match-up.
What happened is a great lesson about life for everyone. I often use sports as a metaphor for life and yesterday’s Super Bowl teaches us a lot about life.
Peyton Manning had such an unbelievable year that he and the Broncos seemed unbeatable. The Seahawks were a young team and their quarterback, Russell Wilson, was a young quarterback with a fraction of the experience and the salary of Peyton Manning.
Individual performance records usually lead to big contracts, but those big contracts can never guarantee that highly-paid, high-performing individuals will lead teams to the ultimate victories. Money can buy talent, but in a team sport, too much emphasis placed on an individual’s financial and professional status can distract from the need for a cohesive team effort. Over the past few seasons, I have noticed that far too much attention is being paid to individual records when individual success can be achieved independent of team success.
You can argue that Peyton Manning was not well protected. Argue that he is not, and should not be expected to be, a one-man team, but Peyton Manning chocked under the pressure of the Super Bowl stage and so did the team around him. It was as if the opening play – a miscommunicated snap that flew past Peyton and led to a Seahawks’ safety - was an omen for the course of the entire game. Manning and the Broncos never recovered from that opening snap, and the Seahawks embarrassed the Broncos in Super Bowl 48.
So much of what dictates our behavior is subconscious and is therefore easily consciously denied, but here are a few things to consider: Was Peyton Manning too confident? Did he feel that it was his destiny to win the Super Bowl this year? Did the Broncos, as a team, rely too much on the individual excellence of their leader during the regular season and the playoffs?
Even if the loss to the Seahawks was aided by obvious answers to the aforementioned questions, the greatest reason for the win was the dominating play of the Seahawks, which was driven by an attitude and overall mentality that is to be admired – and studied.
If the Broncos entered the Super Bowl yesterday with a sense of entitlement, the Seahawks did not allow the national respect bestowed upon Manning from his stellar season to be an intimidating factor. Individuals and teams can respect competitors, but that respect should never be elevated to reverence to the point that the competition seems unbeatable. The Seahawks respected Manning and the Broncos, but they did not allow that respect to intimidate them.
In winning the Super Bowl 43-8, the Seahawks not only used their #1 rated defense to rattle and shut down the stoic Peyton Manning, but their offense put on a show that made the Broncos’ #1 rated offense look totally inept.
Once again, a football game was not played according to statistics and anyone who expected that only denies the reality of the emotional aspect of sports.
The attitude and performance of Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson in the Super Bowl may be the most inspirational aspect of the victory and what it tells us about life. For the past couple of months, I have had a small sign over the desk in my office at WWL. The sign reads, “Why NOT Me!”
In an interview before an important regular season game, Russell Wilson was asked if he was surprised at the success in his young career. He answered by talking about something his father told him growing up and that is, “Why not you, Russell?” I thought that was such an important message that I put it over my desk.
Following the Super Bowl victory, Wilson was asked about what his father told him growing up and that was a reminder of just how important that simple message is – "why not me?"
We often go through life thinking that great things will happen to someone else and not us. We even question whether we will be the “lucky” ones to succeed in a big way. The idea of “why not me?” implies erasing all doubt that you can do whatever it is you strive to do to reach your goals.
I also love the underdog status of Russell Wilson entering the NFL. At 5’11,” he is short for an NFL QB, and was constantly told that he wouldn’t make it in the NFL. Saints’ QB Drew Brees has a similar story. In true peak performers, being told you can’t do something is usually one of the greatest motivational speeches you can hear. I know it has been at times in my career and I hope you have similar stories.
Rather than look at the success of others, start asking yourself the question, “why not me?” and live every moment in life with the confidence that there is no reason why it can’t be you!