Football plays as an analogy for life and the difference between success and failure

I don’t know how many of you watched the recently played Rose Bowl game between Oklahoma and Georgia a few weeks ago but if you didn’t you missed a great game between two great teams. These days when I watch a football game, I spend most of my time observing the head coaches, how they conduct themselves on the sidelines, how they make decisions especially under stress and just how they manage the game. I also look for the key points in the game that ultimately decide the outcome, or at least those I think decide the outcome.

In the first half of this game Oklahoma is clearly the better team, seeming to score at will. The game is in the second quarter and Oklahoma is near the goal line looking to score another touchdown. It is third down and goal, Oklahoma breaks the huddle and lines up in a formation clearly to run a trick play. The Georgia coach seeing that, immediately calls a time out because he realizes his defense is not prepared for that formation and he wants to tell them how to line up if they see that formation again. Oklahoma breaks the huddle a second time but now in a completely new formation and again the Georgia coach calls a timeout and talks to the defense about this new formation. All the while, I am thinking, why waste his time? Oklahoma only has a few yards at most to score and they have been scoring at will, he is wasting timeouts that he may need badly later in the half. But here is what happens next, Oklahoma breaks the huddle but this time they don’t have any trick formations to use, and as the play starts, the runner is tackled for a loss, and now it is fourth down but instead of a yard to go, it is 8 yards to go and they need to attempt a field goal instead of trying for a touchdown. Oklahoma makes the field goal, and goes on to score another touchdown just before the half to extend their lead to 17 points. But it is 17 points not 21 points and as it turns out, that is the difference between Oklahoma winning in regulation or ending the game tied. Because the game was tied and ultimately they lose the game in the second overtime.

When the Georgia coached called those two timeouts, he forced the Oklahoma coach to alter his next two plays and ultimately they had to settle for a field goal. If you watch enough football, you realize that although the field is 100 yards long, it is a game of inches and although it is played for an hour, every second counts. Every play matters, but not every play decides the outcome. The important thing to remember is that you don’t know which play ultimately will make the difference so you need to play them all like they will. Your life is the same way, not everything you do will make the difference between success and failure, but unless you know, you need to act as if all the little things are important because one of them will make the difference in your life.

Have a great weekend everybody.


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