Armchair quarterbacks have it easy. We don’t take the field, trying to out-think, out-play, and out-maneuver an equally talented team of players and coaches on the other side of the field. Still, sometimes even armchair QBs are smart enough to know a mistake of epic proportions when we see one. All America is talking about that right now, having watched the Seattle Seahawks snatch defeat out of the mouth of victory at the conclusion of this year’s Super Bowl.
Bear Bryant used to say that when you pass, three things can happen and two of them are bad (incompletions and interceptions). Seattle was on the one yard line with three plays left, a timeout in their arsenal, and the best running back in pro football in their backfield, and they did the most dangerous thing imaginable – They passed. It was intercepted, and the Patriots took home a trophy that practically had Seattle’s name inscribed on it. Bear Bryant knew what he was talking about.
Okay, my blogs are not about football. And, this is not to denigrate Seattle. They’re a great team who played a great game and unfortunately, at the most critical moment, made a bad decision. But, they were in the Super Bowl when all the other teams (except New England) were watching on TV. Our point is to reflect on what we saw and learn some lessons from it. So, what might those lessons be?
1/ Life has a way of balancing out. Do you remember what happened two plays before the interception? Seattle experienced a miracle. A Hail Mary kind of pass literally fell into a receiver’s hands as he lay on the ground. He is skilled and his athleticism showed, but still it was a miracle. Those sorts of catches do not happen. Had Seattle gone on to win, everyone right now would be talking about that play – and how Seattle had been lucky and New England had gotten robbed. Instead, two plays later New England got their miracle. Life has a way of balancing out. When bad things happen, hold on. Something really good may be on the way.
2/ Never give up. That phrase is used so often that sometimes we almost grow weary hearing it, but still it is true. We never know what’s around the next corner or over the next hill. We never know how long it will take for the seeds we have planted to bear fruit. And we never will know if we give up prematurely. When it looked like everything was over and done with, had the Patriots thrown in the towels and headed to the locker room, they would not be Super Bowl champs. But, they hung in. They didn’t give up. Good things are often the result of perseverance as much as they are of ability.
3/ Don’t be discouraged because someone else may seem more talented. Their gifts do not determine your results. In my opinion, the best team in pro football this year didn’t even make it to the Super Bowl. I think when all the players are healthy, Green Bay would have the edge over the Seahawks or the Patriots. But, Seattle got its miracle victory against the Packers two weeks earlier. When the playoffs began, nobody said, “Oh, let’s just give the trophy to Green Bay and not waste our time. None of us is good enough to beat them.” No one let another team’s skills undermine their own self-confidence. All of us come up against people who are younger, richer, trimmer, prettier, more handsome, who have more academic degrees or better professional pedigrees, etc. But someone else’s gifts and graces do not diminish our own. And if the truth were known, sometimes the people we envy would trade places with us, given the chance. “I wish I could be like him or her” will never motivate anyone to success. The question, “What can God use me to do?” will.
Congrats to New England for winning the championship! And, congrats to Seattle for having a great season and making it to the Super Bowl! And for the rest of us, there are lessons we can carry away from what we saw – lessons that will last long after the trophy has begun to gather dust.