learning from the Super Bowl…

So first, ten things we learned from Super Bowl LII…

  1. Minnesota is cold.
  2. Justin Timberlake rocks.
  3. Eagles really do fly.
  4. Sometimes a backup player makes all the difference in the world.
  5. Marketers determined they would make more of a difference by omitting the political statements during commercial timeouts this year.
  6. Tom Brady may be a “goat,” but he’s still very human.
  7. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. do an excellent Patrick Swayze-Jennifer Grey routine.
  8. #BleepDon’tStink.
  9. The NFL really needs to clear up the “what is a catch” rule. And…
  10. A 29 year old quarterback catches a pass better than a 40 year old one.

But better than all of the above, in my semi-humble opinion, was the poignant lesson in leadership so sweetly articulated by Philadelphia QB Nick Foles. The backup — a man who was never expected to play in this year’s Super Bowl, much less be named the MVP — said it better than most leaders, with a mic in front of them, than most people ever do…

Said Foles in the post-game press conference:

“I think the big thing that helped me was knowing that I didn’t have to be Superman. I have amazing teammates, amazing coaches around me. And all I had to do was just go play as hard as I could, and play for one another, and play for those guys.”

Heed that briefly once more…

No need to be Superman…
Just play hard…
Play for one another.

That humility is demonstrative of effective, contagious leadership.

As written yesterday by Justin Bariso, author and encourager of emotional intelligence, on Inc.com:

“… As Foles so beautifully demonstrated over the past several weeks, true leadership isn’t about position, or trying to get others to follow you.

Rather, true leadership is about action: It’s putting your head down, going to work, and trying to lift up those around you. That’s what inspires others to follow because they want to, not because they have to.

Despite putting on a performance for the ages, Foles recognized that football is a team game.
There is no Super Bowl win without the protection of his front line.

There is no Super Bowl win without the amazing play-calling of Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

There is no Super Bowl win without the defense that forced Tom Brady to fumble in crunch time, those final minutes when New England’s favorite footballer typically plays with the laser focus of a machine, programmed to dash the dreams of hopeful opponents, much as he did last year.

Foles recognized all of this. He knew that great teams aren’t only about who’s on your team, but about how the team works together. By showing humility, setting the example, and praising his teammates, Foles demonstrated emotional intelligence. In doing so, he inspired trust — the deep, long-lasting trust that requires connecting with others on an emotional level.

That’s the lesson Nick Foles taught us over the past several weeks, and the lesson he reminded us of last night, as he stood before the podium reserved for the newest Super Bowl MVP — a place no one ever predicted he would be, perhaps not even he himself.

But that’s exactly where Foles deserved to be. A reward for putting his head down, going to work, and trying his best to lift up those around him.

Now, that’s what I call leadership.”

What a wonderful thing for us to learn.


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