Super Bowl LII
Tom Brady passed for 505 yds. (record), attempted 48 passes without an interception (record), appeared in his 8th SB (record), set the record for most completions of 20+ yds. in a single SB, and set the record for the most career touchdown passes in super bowls (among many other records personally and as a franchise.)
And the Patriots lost.
How did an underdog team with a backup quarterback win on the biggest stage in the NFL? They played like they had nothing to lose and everything to win. In what will be remembered as one of the most critical plays of the game, the Eagles had a 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line, and Coach Doug Pederson went for it. They didn’t just go for it, they used a trick play ending in a pass to the QUARTERBACK for a touchdown. I don’t know anything about football and I was impressed.
The rest of the game was similar if not quite as spectacular. Not to take anything away from the Patriots (they’ve been to the SB ten times and won it five) but I found it amazing that right until the end the commentators continued to talk about how Brady could pull it off. They were sure of it. Until it didn’t happen.
I wonder if Brady was sure of it too. He led the Patriots to wins in five of nine trips to the Super Bowl. He was MVP four of those 5 times, and he holds nearly every other major Super Bowl record for a quarterback. He knew how to win. He was used to winning. He expected to win.
But he lost.
I don’t know for sure what Brady was thinking or expecting. I do know that when you are at the top it is easy to make some important mistakes:
You tend to shift from playing offense and trying to gain ground, to playing defense and trying not lose what you have. It is often a subtle change. A slight loss of the edge. A little shift in attention. In a close game it can make all the difference because the underdog is going for broke.
You become complacent about the grinding, difficult aspect of getting better every single day in the hopes of overcoming the competition. You still work hard, but the underdog is working slightly harder. You still train, but you are not willing to risk overtraining, so you don’t get as close to the line as the underdog is willing to.
You forget what it feels like to be hungry. The gnawing emptiness in the pit of your stomach that makes you obsess about your preparation and execution. The underdog has a burning desire to get what he has never had. The underdog has a focus that keeps him alert and sharp.
It is not easy to maintain the focus, drive and hunger necessary to continually improve and grow. Coming off a year of great success, we must be diligent to notice any tendency we might have to throttle back and relax. We need to continue to push ourselves and our systems.
Let’s have Nick Foles’ hunger and drive when we have Tom Brady’s record. That’s how we will best support our customers. That’s how we will impact our community. That’s how we will make a difference for our people.
That’s the Kimray Way.