Do Not Forget the Fundamentals

Having played defense a majority of my football career, I was one of the few people outside of New England that found the low scoring Super Bowl exciting.  Rule changes, along with offensive scheme changes, have led to an increase in scoring on all levels of football over the last several years.  Even I will admit that it does not hurt that high scoring games tend to be more exciting than defensive struggles.

Going into the Super Bowl, virtually every “expert” predicted a high-scoring affair.  The Rams feature a prolific young coach who structured a dynamic offense.  The Patriots have Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.  Both teams’ defenses had struggled at times during the season and during the playoffs.  The conditions were ripe for a shootout.  ESPN’s “experts” predicted scores that ranged from 20-17 to 41-40, with an average final score of 31-27.  Oops. That’s a far cry from the 13-3 final.

Something happened on the way to the score everyone anticipated and hoped for: experience.  The Rams’ defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, has been coaching in the NFL for over 40 years.  Bill Belichick, the Patriots mastermind, is the oldest coach ever to win a Super Bowl.  Both teams featured many experienced defensive players.  Give smart coaches and smart players a few weeks to prepare and good things will happen.  The bottom line is both defenses outplayed both offenses, with the Patriots playing a little better.

So what’s the lesson in all of this?  Bill Belichick is famous for telling everyone around him, “Do your job.”  Based on his demeanor, I imagine he might add a few words to that phrase every now and then.  It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a shiny new object (product, service, etc.).  It’s easy to focus on a new marketing strategy.  It’s fun to chase new business.  Don’t forget the basics.  Growth is exciting.  New ideas are exciting.  But to win, you still have to execute the fundamentals.  The Patriots prove that time and time again.

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