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.
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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