Great afternoon (and evening) of football yesterday and both games ended on last second field goal attempts. One was good; the other not so much – as if you weren’t watching live or are otherwise aware by now.
One kicker left the field overjoyed and the other hung his head, mirroring the feelings of their fans. Being a kicker is hard – you’re the guy who shoulders a lot of the blame (I’m sure Scott Norwood‘s name is still cursed in Buffalo) when there’s a last second loss even though you were off the field for 59 minutes of the game. Which of course reminds me of a huge business point to be taken away.
A field goal attempt is a three-part ballet: a good snap from the center to the holder, the holder turning and placing the ball as the kicker prefers, and a successful kick. The timing is precise, and anything from a bad snap to the holder being a microsecond off in having the ball ready to wet turf meaning the kicker can’t plant his foot well means a miss and maybe even a loss. Yet we tend to focus on the ball’s flight and not the sequence of things it took to make that flight happen. Unless there is an obvious problem – the snap sails over the holder’s head or the holder drops the ball – the kicker gets the blame or the accolades.
Sounds like business to me. After all, most of the work in business is done by folks like the center and the holder, not to mention the linemen who make sure the kick goes unimpeded. These business people do the research, write first drafts, make travel arrangements, create art, and provide feedback, none of which you think about whilst you’re watching a great business presentation. The successful salesperson usually has a few support people to thank for the sale. Like the kicker, the boss gets too much credit and often takes too much of the blame.
The hold was a bit off in one late try yesterday and was a game-saver in the other yet can you even name who was responsible this morning? Think about the holder the next time you read a spectacular presentation or a well-written sales piece and remember: like everything else in field goals and business it was a team effort.