In listening to all of the chatter about the upcoming Super Bowl, I have heard what has been said about the competitors and I have heard what has not been said. Having been a New England Patriots fan my entire life, I am more in tune to what’s not said about them than about the Eagles. It is what’s not being said that I find fascinating and hope others understand as well.
The New England Patriots are a team that won 21 straight games before their streak ended. They are the 2002 and 2004 Super Bowl champions and are back in the Super Bowl again this year. They are a team that has been hurt by injuries and yet a team that rose above those stumbling blocks and won 14 of 16 games this year.
The New England Patriots, a team with the second best record in the NFL this year, has precisely one person going to the Pro Bowl. One. What does that prove? To me, it proves that in this day of self-promotion where the needs and acts of an individual are glorified above the accomplishments of the organization, the Patriots have found the value of being a team and are enjoying the success they, or any organization can enjoy, if they put the goals and needs of the group above those of the individual.
Bill Belichick, the coach of the Patriots, is frequently chastised by the media for his low-keyed approach to media days. His team members are chastised for the same trait. The reporters seem to discard the amazing success the team has had over the past few years that speaks so eloquently of their work ethic and focus, and instead complain about a lack of sound bites. To me this is a sad commentary on the quality of reporters because the reporters are missing the true story – teamwork, sacrifice and success.
It is my hope that this year, in this Super Bowl, someone will see the truth, someone will understand the message and apply that same ethic: by working together, great things can be achieved; by sacrificing a little of your own ego, your own goals, something greater can come into being; by taking the spotlight off of “me” and putting it on “us”, we can accomplish something we never imagined we’d do; by being a TEAM and doing what we need to do to accomplish our goals, even if it means stepping out of our comfortable, well-defined roles, we can rise together and leave our competitors stunned and silenced by our success.
This year, more than most others, the Super Bowl is about the real meaning of teamwork and what it can achieve. It is a reminder of what is really important in order to excel. No matter which team wins, if we can learn the secret behind the success of these two teams, we will all be winners in the end.
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