Off Topic: A Handful of Super Bowl LII Thoughts

First of all, I want to say congratulations to all of the Philadelphia Eagles fans out there. Your team won a great game that capped off an amazing season!

Super Bowl LII in US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

I was lucky enough to attend my third Super Bowl (SB LII) yesterday. Unlike the endings in Super Bowls XLIX and LI, my Patriots did not win the game. Here are a few quick thoughts about the experience:

  • Minneapolis was a very welcoming community. From the moment we landed, everyone in Minneapolis was wonderful. Our plane was greeted at the gate by about 20 volunteers with signs and a balloon archway. Throughout the city, we ran into locals who volunteered their time to joyfully help us visitors find what we were looking for, and to make sure that we enjoyed our stay in Minneapolis.
  • Winning feels better than losing. When the game ended in a loss, I suddenly was dreading the long trek home—something that I looked forward to during my previous two Super Bowls. And it was a lot more fun celebrating with crowds of people after the last two Super Bowls, than it was this time when we just went back to the hotel and want to bed.
  • Humans should never face negative temperatures. We spent a large portion of our visit in Minneapolis facing sub-zero temperatures. That’s just too cold! Our rental car didn’t even have a negative sign, so it showed the temperatures rising even as we were falling closer to the bottom of the Kelvin scale. It was so cold that I couldn’t handle my cell phone, but it didn’t matter because the touch screen didn’t work and I couldn’t talk.
  • I’m very thankful for Minneapolis’ enclosed maze. This relates to the previous item. We had a one mile walk from lunch to the stadium, which may have led to the loss of feeling in my fingers and toes. Luckily, we were able to stay inside for just about the entire time. How? There’s a labyrinth of enclosed walkways that weave throughout downtown Minneapolis. I guess even Minnesotans can’t get used to those temperatures.
  • The Mall of America was a fun destination. I haven’t visited the Mall of America since I was on a teen tour many, many years ago. In the middle of the mall is a full amusement park with multiple roller coasters. I enjoyed a nice ride on the ferris wheel. It was particularly entertaining, because the mall was full of Super Bowl-related activities.
  • I’m very, very lucky. Despite fighting the cold and seeing my team lose the championship, it was a wonderful experience that I was able to share with my son, father-in-law, and a friend. We’ve been incredibly blessed by the success of the Patriots, and I am proud of what the team has accomplished. We may have lost a game, but having memorable moments with people who you care about is winning in my book.

The bottom line: Looking forward to cheering for my Patriots in Atlanta at Super Bowl LIII!

My 5 Super Bowl Observations (Good For CX and Leadership)

1702_brucesuperbowlgear2I was very fortunate (as a die-hard Patriots fan) to have attended Super Bowl LI in Houston. It was the most amazing game that I’ve ever seen.

I’m still a bit numb.

After spending most of the game feeling very melancholy and wondering why I had bothered to make the trip to Houston, the Patriots did the near-impossible. They came back to win after being behind by 25 points. At one point in the game, the Falcons had a 99.6% chance of winning!

Here’s my video from right after we won…

Now that it’s been a few days, I can reflect back on the Patriots victory. Here are some of my thoughts that I also think apply to customer experience and leadership:

  1. Every player counts. Throughout the Super Bowl, playoffs, and the regular season, different Patriots players made key plays. There are 53 people on an NFL roster and more than 60 people play for the team during a year (with injuries and roster shifts). While many people focus on Tom Brady, the Patriots won because of the performance of all 60+ players. This insight drives how the Patriot’s allot their cap-limited player salaries.
  2. Do your job. Throughout the season, the Patriots repeated a mantra: Do Your Job! While it’s always easy to focus on what other people might be doing, or the hype around big games, each player will best influence the outcome if they are physically and mentally prepared. In this environment, players are motivated to prepare and they have trust in their teammates.
  3. Focus on the next play. When the Patriots were down 28 to 3, it looked bleak. The players could have put their heads down and pouted about the previous plays, but they didn’t. They went back on the field and did their best on the next play. And then the next play, and the next, and the next. The team’s success was not based on a single play (although Edelman’s catch was amazing). Instead, it came from a large number of next plays.
  4. Leadership drives culture. Getting 60+ well-paid athletes to share a common vision, and operate in a consistent manner does not happen by accident. And it’s not practical to micro manage every player’s minute-by-minute activities. This type of alignment only comes from a strong culture, which has been modeled and nurtured by Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff.
  5. Live events are special. I’m sure that every Patriots fan watching or listening to the Super Bowl went crazy when we won the game, but there’s something magical about being there in person. The energy that’s created during a live event cant be replicated on TV or radio. It was a truly emotional experience that I shared with 10’s of 1,000’s of my closest Patriots friends. I was also at Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, and felt the same massive energy when we beat the Seahawks.

The bottom line: All I can say is… Go Pats!