Worst. Call. Ever.

I suspect you watched the Super Bowl last night. Hopefully you did so all the way to the end and you witnessed the subject of today’s rant. For any of you who missed it, the Seahawks were driving and were on the 1 yard line, about to win the game. They just had to run it in and had 3 tries to do so (OK, maybe 2 since they only had one time out left). I’ll let the Times explain:

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A team with Marshawn Lynch, one of the best goal-line running backs in football, instead opted for a far riskier option, and Malcolm Butler made them pay, intercepting the ball at the goal line to effectively end the Seahawks’ hopes of winning a second consecutive Super Bowl.

Coach Pete Carroll took responsibility for the call after the game. So did his offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell. Whoever actually made the call, the decision joins an ignominious list of the worst coaching decisions in sports history.

There is a business point in that decision.  Simply put, rather relying on the proven strengths of his team, the coach opted for trickery.  Obviously, it backfired and they lost the game.  It’s a good lesson for all of us.  We invest a lot of time in building our team and our business.  We come to realize over that time the things at which we excel and which help us win.  Those are the things upon which we must rely, especially during crunch time.  Trying “trickeration” may seem like a fine idea but it usually isn’t as good as doing what is known to work.

It wasn’t absurd to think of trying a pass play when everyone is expecting a run.  What made it such a bad call was that the passing game hadn’t been particularly effective and the Seahawks had lived on Lynch’s running ability all season.  Expecting him to run at you is not the same as stopping him and the Patriots hadn’t done so without at least a yard gained during the game very often.   In business it’s not about what the competition is expecting.  It’s not about trickery or fooling anyone.  It’s about executing better than they do and producing a better product or service.  Ask Apple.

Thoughts?

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1 Comment

Filed under Huh?, Reality checks

One response to “Worst. Call. Ever.

  1. I have a slightly different take. I didn’t love the call, but I think calling it the worst call ever is postgame hyperbole. I also think calling it such discounts the remarkable play that Malcolm Butler made — and there’s a business lesson in that. How did Butler, and undrafted, rookie street free-agent, make the biggest play of the game? Preparation. Film study. He recognized the formation and jumped the hell out of the route. When the weakest members of your team put in the time to prepare like that, it makes the collective unit that much stronger.

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