The People, The Process, and a Little Bit of Luck…

[Editor’s Note: This is a follow up post to Leadership Lessons From TB12 published on February 1, 2017.]

By Angela McMahon, Head Coach, University of Massachusetts Amherst, @UMassLacrosse

I’d love to offer up a brilliant explanation as to how the Patriots made the impossible possible, but I can’t. What is clear, however, is that what seemed impossible to us outsiders, was not a shared feeling by the players and coaches in the locker room at half time of the game. But why?

Photo courtesy of U-Mass Athletics.
Courtesy of U-Mass Athletics

A lot of what I’ve heard here on sports radio, and television in New England is that they believed, they believed, they believed… in who or what exactly? Belichick? Brady? That they were the better team? I’d argue that it goes a lot deeper than any one person, coach, or even the organization. The Super Bowl Champions won because they believed in the process, the people, and maybe got a little luck along the way.

What’s the process of becoming a champion?

  1. Get the right people. The right people aren’t always the best people, or the most experienced, but the ones that fit the culture that an organization is trying to create. For the Patriots, it’s hard-working coaches and players that put the team above all else. It sounds so simple, but when a young talented athlete is being constantly told how great they are, sometimes the concept of “team” gets lost.
  2. Commit and dedicate yourself to the process. At the parade in Boston, Coach Belichick said this Patriots team was the hardest working group of players he’s ever coached. Did he say it was the most talented? NO. They were the hardest working. While Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, let’s not forget that he’s 39 years old, was drafted in the 6th round, barely started on his college team, and essentially runs around the field with two left feet. But I bet it’d be tough to find any quarterback that trains consistently harder than him. When that work ethic gets engrained in a culture and everyone involved is dedicated to achieving their peak performance for the betterment of the team, they can accomplish more than a group that relies on pure talent.
  3. A little luck always seems to find these types of special teams, or maybe they’ve created such positive habits over the course of the last 17 years, that because they’re doing the right things, more often than not outcomes will go in their favor. This team defied the odds by being 3-1 without the greatest quarterback in the game, losing Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), and making a historical comeback that most believed impossible.

In amateur sports, a team’s success isn’t defined by championships won or lost, but by the process a group of individuals who are collectively dedicating themselves to the benefit of the group to achieve a common goal. That is certainly something to celebrate… and that’s exactly what New England fans are doing.

Way to go Pats!!!


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