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Executive Leadership Coaching

4 minute read

Beyond Super Bowl Sunday: 5 Super Bowl Lessons for Business

Feb 5, 2019

Written by: Shawn Sweeney

This Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII featuring a win for the New England Patriots over the Los Angeles Rams really got us talking in the Spinnaker office. About the game, of course. But also about Super Bowl lessons on the field that have direct application to business success.

Take a step off the gridiron and take a look at these five Super Bowl lessons for your business:


Brett Ludden, Spinnaker Principal

It’s remarkable how players keep their cool when things aren’t going according to plan. At the Super Bowl, there were no touchdowns in three quarters, yet the teams stayed calm and stayed focused. In the fourth quarter, Rams coach Sean McVay tried to outplay Patriots coach Bill Belichick by getting his team in a huddle until after Belichick could use his radio to communicate with his leader on the field — it takes great discipline to use up clock you don't have when you know what you have been doing hasn’t been working. The Super Bowl lesson for business is to do the same: When things aren’t going as planned, stay calm and stay focused on delivering the win, no matter how much time is left on the clock. An important part of this lesson is embracing out-of-the-box thinking to try something new to swing the tide in your favor. When the going gets tough, it’s time for the team to pull together and keep pushing until the clock runs out. Whether on the field or in the office, never give up!


Hanna Turner, Spinnaker Consultant

Throughout the game, the Rams had to keep readjusting their offense, and it was only when they did that they were able to start moving down the field. The same goes for business. Our business environments are always changing. Regulations. Competitors. Consumers. Technology. Change is constant. As businesses, we need to adjust to achieve — and stay — at the top of our game and our industries. In the Rams’ case, their changes weren’t quite enough to get them the win. Truthfully, that happens in business sometimes, too. The point is, adjustment is critical to success. You may not always get there with it, but you definitely won’t get there without it.

Attitude is as critical in business as it is in a big game. It’s another important Super Bowl lesson. To me, Rams coach Sean McVay seemed defeated before the game was over. When your coach is defeated, it’s difficult to win. In business, when your leader is defeated, it’s also difficult to win. Leaders fight tough battles every day but have to stay motivated to keep moving their teams and their goals forward. When leaders don’t model that can-do attitude from the top, the entire organization will suffer the consequences. If you want to win, the first rule is to believe you can.


Stuart Williams, Spinnaker Consultant

Win or lose, the fact that the Patriots have been in the Super Bowl nine of the last 18 years is simply amazing, and they’ve done it with a minimum of Hall-of-Fame­–level players. Why is that? How did they do it? The secret is in their approach to each game. It’s different every time. They adjust each game for each opponent. Their flexibility is a key Super Bowl lesson for business as well. The Patriots don’t believe there’s only one way to play a game, and they’re willing and able to make the adjustments necessary to win. When your organization embraces flexibility, you’ll win a lot more often, too. Like them or not, the Patriots are clearly on to something.


Shawn Sweeney, Spinnaker Managing Partner

In the NFC championship game leading up to the Super Bowl, one call took center stage — and actually, it was a call that wasn’t made. That one noncall had an impact on the outcome of the entire game, helping the Rams overcome the New Orleans Saints and earn a spot in the Super Bowl. In business, just as in football, you can’t afford to miss a call. Ever. The calls you don’t make have the potential to critically impact your results. You never want to look back and wonder “what could have been” if you would only have done that one thing you didn’t do. As a leader, it’s essential that you make every call — even the tough ones — to position your team for success.


Jeff Nelson, Spinnaker Consultant

What I love about football was on display big-time in Sunday’s Super Bowl: It’s the ultimate example of a team game. When watching football, it’s easy to get carried away with the heroics of the quarterback leading the team down the field, the running back beating the laws of physics as he careens through a mass of players, or the wide receiver flying through the air to catch passes. For me, though, it’s what happens away from the ball that makes the game interesting. The QB can’t select the pass that sets up the touchdown without his line holding, shifting, pulling, and pushing the defense to allow him to make the right choice. Without the precise splitting of the defense by the line at the right moment, in the right direction, even the best running back won’t get more than a few yards. And the motion from the tailback and downfield blocking all give the wide receiver the space to make the catch.

TV coverage can make it feel like a handful of players are out there winning the games — but stars don’t win games alone. That’s a big Super Bowl lesson for business. There may be a few starts in the spotlight, but it takes an entire team to make good things happen. When you play as a team, you win as a team. The next time you watch a football game, don’t watch the ball. Amazing feats of athleticism are happening all over the field. When you’re at the office, don’t focus on just the folks on your team making flashy presentations, notice everyone who’s doing great things to help others do and be their best every day.


At Spinnaker, our team of experts takes pride in helping our clients make game-changing decisions every day. We help teams stay focused, flexible, and motivated so they can get there faster. To find out more, connect with us today.