This week’s blog also comes from a sports story. Whether you’re a football fan or not, the NFL NFC Divisional game against the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings was one of the greatest games in sports history, and is the basis for this week’s blog. There were 4 (four) lead changes in the last 3:01 of the game. Furthermore, Minnesota was playing with their backup quarterback, as their starter was hurt and out for much of the season.
Here is the short version of the game: Minnesota held a commanding lead at half time, 17-0. It did not look good at all for the Saints. However, they are led by one of the best leaders in the game, quarterback Drew Brees. Miraculously, the Saints came back to take the lead with just :25 remaining. Yes, that’s 25 seconds. Minnesota now has the ball but with hardly any time. It came down to one (1) final play, as there were just ten (10) seconds left. It literally was score or lose. By the way, they were not close to the end zone, as they were 61 yards away from winning or losing. Case Keenum threw the ball up and it was caught by Stefon Diggs, who barely kept on his feet and ran 30 yards into the end zone for the win with no time on the clock.
Now the question is this: What happened? The short answer to the question is that the Saints did not tackle Diggs when he caught the ball. All New Orleans had to do was keep him from the end zone or force him out of bounds, and the time would have run out. Instead, the New Orleans defender tried to make a hero play, going for the ball, and it resulted in a miss tackle, which cost New Orleans the game.
Why do you think good coaches preach fundamentals? In the case of football, that is blocking, tackling, catching and running. Basic stuff that kids learn at age 5. The other imbedded lesson in this game is this: The game is not over until the clock says 0:00. With just :25 left, the New Orleans players were celebrating, like they had just won the game. I have to fault head coach Sean Payton, for not having his players more mentally disciplined, by finishing the game, playing the last :25 like it was do or die.
So let’s bring this back to us: The question of the week is this: In your business, what are the most basic of fundamentals that you need to be really good at this week? What are the disciplines that you normally don’t think about? Pay more careful attention to them this week, as you go forward and do your job. It will be the difference between winning and losing, as it was in the Vikings-Saints football game. Congratulations Minnesota and thank you for the lessons you taught us all.