This week’s tip: What Did You Learn From the Super Bowl?  

Did you enjoy the Super Bowl last night?  Did you like the commercials better than the game…or was it the snacks and drinks that you liked best?

SAM team members can learn a lot from the Super Bowl:  

1. Age doesn’t necessarily matter.  Patrick Mahomes was in kindergarten when Tom Brady was playing in his first Super Bowl.  Both quarterbacks are exceptionally good leaders and players.  Lesson:  Experience is a factor for a teacher’s success but it depends what the person does with it.  Brady focuses on learning and has capitalized on his experience to get better each season.  A new teacher may bring a higher level of enthusiasm and new ideas…but success depends on the teacher’s attitude.  Patrick Mahomes isn’t just physically talented.  He is the all-star learner in any setting and focused on improving his skills through risk and experimentation.  

2. If your goal is to get to Boston, do you really care how it happens?  Patrick and Tom are remarkable quarterbacks but they play differently.  Tom rarely runs the ball himself.  Patrick runs a lot.  Both throw short passes.  Tom’s receivers gain a lot of yards after the catch.  Patrick’s, not so much.  They both are revered by their team mates.  Forcing Patrick to play like Tom would not likely end well…and visa versa.   Lesson:  There are lots of ways to teach.  Forcing a teacher to perform like someone else rarely ends well…and may hurt the educator’s performance.  

3. Leadership matters.  But, there are a lot of ways to be a leader.  Tom is highly strategic in his relationship with team mates and is known to quickly take responsibility when things go badly and immediately give credit to others when things go well.  He focuses on empowering others.  Tom has even developed an unusually positive relationship with referees.    Patrick empowers others, too, using a youthful approach that has a magnetic attraction.  Team mates call him creative, crafty, innovative and fearless.  He creates a wild, crazy-fun game full of experimentation: the Smoked Sausage, Black Pearl and Ferrari Right.   “I’ve never seen anything like it.” “We got one of the best quarterbacks in the league, so whatever he says, we’re going to kind of follow it. He’s so creative to where everybody is like, ‘Let’s give it a try.’ – Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins.  Patrick is said to be humble about his skills and success.  Tom, perhaps not so much.  Lesson:  Successful leadership requires connection, purpose and vision.  A great leader can borrow from both Tom and Patrick.  

4. A science-driven, unified approach works.  The NFL is the only professional sports league that completed its season during the pandemic.  Amazing, isn’t it, given the physical contact that is central to football?  What did they do?  They used science and made the message simple, easy to understand and supported it with encouragement, tools and resources.  MEET ~ GREET ~ EAT.  That was the simple part.  They significantly decreased inside meetings and duration, gave players proximity bracelets to wear to remind them to keep their distance from others, enforced the mask rule with rewards and fines—even for the coaches—and served meals separately or in a socially distanced setting—even outdoors.  Contact tracing and monitoring procedures were consistently followed.  The NFL completed their season, had few serious illnesses and finished with a Covid-19 positivity rate under 0.1 percent.   The NFL earned kudos from the CDC.  Lesson:  A science-driven, unified approach could work in schools, too.