Why this was the greatest Super Bowl for old people.

Super Bowl LV will be remembered for some important firsts. It was the first time a team ever played a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Which, if you ask the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, seemed to be a great advantage. It was the first time cardboard cutout attendees outnumbered real people attendees at the Super Bowl. And it was the first time a female officiated a Super Bowl. You go Sarah Thomas! (But don’t go before the snap of the ball, or that is a penalty.)

The non-cardboard crowd attending the Super Bowl was mostly comprised of America’s frontline workers. And rightfully so. But there was another type of worker that slowly stole the show: the older employee.

At 43 years old Tom Brady became the oldest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl. And not only did he win the game, he won his 7th Super Bowl. And his 4th since he turned 37. For those who don’t follow American football, 43 in the NFL is like 85 years old in the normal person workplace.

Bruce Arians also became the oldest coach to ever win a Super Bowl. At 68 years and a whole bunch of days, Arians broke Bill Belichick’s old record by 2 years. In fact, Arians was out of football, and just came back to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. 2 years later this senior citizen won the Super Bowl of, well, Super Bowls. Plus he got to live in Florida like so many other 68-year olds.

The noteworthy takeaway is not that Brady and Arians are old. Which they certainly are in relative terms. It is that they are older employees who bring a stadium worth of experience and knowledge to their organization. Experience can be a major game-changer. Even in the NFL.

In a time when employers are quick to pass on older talent, let Brady and Arians serve as a valuable reminder. Their success with the Bucs was not a product of them running the same old proven system in the same old place and having the same old success. This was Arians’ second season in Tampa Bay, and Brady’s first. Yet their applied knowledge and experience transformed the Buccaneers and made them the best team in the NFL. And success in the NFL is harder to come by than most other industries.

Key Takeaway

Don’t overlook the value of older employees. Their accumulated knowledge and experience is a tremendous asset. Organizations of all types benefit from senior experts. They have seen all there is to see. They know what works and what is doomed to fail. They know that people power businesses and that systems create winners. To win more, make sure you have senior talent on your team that knows how to get you where you want to go because they have already been there. And if you are highly experienced, never forget how much value you bring to any organization lucky enough to have you.

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Tom Brady shares why winning is so important in 6 words.

Last night the New England Patriots did it again. They won the Super Bowl, and were crowned as the best football team on the planet. It was Tom Brady’s 6th Championship in 18 years. Which means that every 3 years he lifts a Lombardi Trophy. And many Non-Patriotics hate him for it.

Why is the win still important?

In the middle of the Cray Cray Camera Crush at center field following the game, Tracy Wolfson of CBS asked Tom Brady why the win was so important to him.

He responded immediately with a 6-word answer:

We’ve been this far and lost. -Tom Brady

With those 6 words, we can all relate to one of the greatest champions in the history of sports. Because despite the six Super Bowl wins, he has also known loss on the biggest stage. Three times, in fact. Twice to the New York Giants, and just last year to the Philadelphia Eagles. He has lost a Super Bowl in a season when the Patriots went undefeated until the championship game. Ouch. #DavidTyree

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This David Tyree against-the-helmet Super Bowl catch was as improbable as it was heart breaking.

Key Takeaway

This is a great reminder that there is tremendous value in our losses. They drive up the value of each subsequent win.

  • The loss of a game makes you value a win.
  • The loss of a job makes you value your employment.
  • The loss of a new business pitch makes you value winning a new client.
  • The loss of a loved one makes you value your loved ones.
  • The loss of time makes you value the time you still have.
  • The loss of revenue makes you value revenue.
  • The loss of a friend makes you value new friendships.
  • The loss of oxygen makes you value oxygen.
  • The loss of 50 degrees makes you value finding 50 degrees. #PolarVortex
  • The loss of Breaking Bad makes you value Game of Thrones.
  • The loss of your swimsuit makes you value your swimsuit.

The key to the Patriots’ success that most people never notice.

The New England Patriots are my favorite professional team, in any sport, hands down. Heck, I love the Patriots regardless of hand position. I have been a Pats fan since I was a boy growing up in Vermont, which for the international crowd, and the geographically challenged Americans, is one of the six states that make up New England.

In my youth, the highlight of my Patriots fandom was the kickoff of Super Bowl XX (that’s 20 for those of you who don’t speak Roman). I was so excited and full of hope, until my Pats got refrigerated and Super Bowl Shuffled off like the Buffalo Bills by the historically impressive 1985 Chicago Bears. If that game didn’t completely break my heart, Billy Buckner finished the job just a few months later.

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My Patriots took it in the worst way from the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX.

A Whole New World

Oh, but this is a new millennium. It has been unbelievable for Patriot fans. But completely annoying for many non-Patriotic Americans. I get that too. Because I can’t stand the New York Yankees.

Since 2001, no team in any sport has been more dominant than the Patriots. Love them or hate them, their record has been spectacular this millennium. Since 2001 they’ve played in the Super Bowl 9 times, winning 5 championships, with a chance to add another W in Super Bowl LIII.

It’s Gets Harder And Harder.

Each return trip becomes less and less likely. Because following a Super Bowl appearance, both teams are rewarded for their efforts with one of the two worst draft positions, and one of the two hardest schedules the following year. Yet here the Patriots are, once again playing for the Lombardi Trophy.

Which Begs The Question…

Just why have the Patriots been able to remain so dominant for so long in the era of the salary cap and free agency? This is an era in which it should be the hardest of all to maintain a Joan Collins-caliber dynasty.

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Patriot great Tedy Bruschi checking Mike Vrabel for lice.

The Harder The Problem, The Harder You Look For Solutions.

Budget limitations often encourage us to approach our challenges differently. If you really study the NFL data like Bill Belichick has, it may lead you to create an entirely new formula for success.

Belichick and Brady

In Michael Holley’s New York Times bestseller, Belichick and Brady, there is an eye-opening analysis of the economics of football. While we are often distracted by the conspicuous performances on the field, we may be missing something far more important. There is far too much emphasis put on the traditional statistics. And Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli were just the people to unearth this non-intuitive truth.

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The following passage from the book offers one of the great aha’s of how the Patriots have accomplished so much despite the NFL’s systematically promoted parody.

We slowly accumulated winning stat guys as opposed to the high-sack, high-interception guys,” former Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham says. “Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel. Those guys are way more valuable if they get eight sacks rather than sixteen. Dominating the edge, getting on the tight end, blowing up wide receivers and never letting them get into the pattern. That’s way more valuable than sixteen sacks.

“I think that the world thinks that the sixteen-sack guy is more valuable, but the Patriots don’t think that, and you can get into the economics of this: The sixteen-sack guy costs twice as much as the other guy. And once you get to a certain point, it’s saturation. It’s just sixteen plays and when you play five hundred snaps, it’s not that important. It just isn’t. Who are the best rerouters among outside linebackers? Who are the best edge setter? Does anyone in the media know that?”

-From Belichick and Brady by Michael Holley

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Matt Chatham: Revealer of truth. And guy who got stuck trying to shove his arms through a little kid’s bike inner tubes.

Key Takeaway:

Know your winning stats. The winning formula isn’t always obvious. But understanding what really factors into your success gives you an edge in every endeavor. Analyze your own organization, or your own personal success. Know what works and which part of the performance may be distracting you from the things that matter most.

I hope the Patriots win the Super Bowl again this year. But even if they don’t, it sure is fun being a Pats fan. Because win or lose (and it is mostly win) they have found the winning formula to be in the mix every year.

Go Pats!