Football is the quintessential American entity with both simultaneous awful and awesome aspects. There little doubt that ticket prices are exorbitant, player salaries are not equitable, and injuries are potentially extreme; nevertheless, it provides some measure of unity across social, age, gender, and economic classes. The topic transcends the sport. When you have nothing to connect you with another – no ideology, no interests, no information – you can still always discuss the game. Despite, or maybe even because of, its problems, football will always be my first love. Thus, I was one of the 111.3 million Americans who watched last Sunday’s Super Bowl game.

Here are 5 lessons I learned that apply to life today.

Haters Hate

Tom Brady has an impressive record. Is he the greatest quarterback of all time? Mabye, but my best will forever be Peyton Manning for qualities both on and off the field. The point though is that Brady is an amazing player who consistently leads his team to greatness. Yet, many people disparage all he has accomplished.


What can I learn from this?


Well, victor or loser, someone will be unhappy with my behavior. Everyone is not going to like me or you regardless of what we do. There will always be one, or many, of those who think badly whether it is justified or not. Thus, I must not attempt to satisfy all people all the time since it is an impossible feat. Instead, I should just do my best in my chosen tasks and be glad if I am pleased with the result.

Friends Matter

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, quarterback and coach, have been together for 17 years which is an eternity in football.  Together they have gone to the sport’s highest contest, the Super Bowl, six unprecedented times.  It is impossible to say what one would be without other for their successes are built upon a strong relationship foundation.

What can I learn from this?

The right relationships lead to success. Whom I associate with will affect my life in both obvious and subtle ways.  Associates, friends, and mentors not only give me companionship, but these very relationships can also direct my path toward successes or toward failures. Hence, I should develop my positive relationships through time and effort and perhaps be more selective in whom I allow in my inner relationship circle.

Boredom Ok

A one hour football game drags on for three hours or more with all the time outs and breaks. Even Tom Brady can get bored sometimes. Every minute of an endless, exciting game won’t be the most thrilling moment.

 What can I learn from this?

The middle gets tedious. I should expect certain times in my life to be a bit boring. Every minute of every class can’t be breathtakingly fabulous. Sometimes, the topic is boring, or the students are unenthusiastic. I can’t gauge my success in my class or my life directly by the exhilarating nature of the moment. Sometimes, one has to wash the dishes and sweep the floor, to grade the language and discuss the prompt one more time. Therefore, I should enjoy more any engaging activities when they occur so that I can sustain my forward momentum through the drudging circumstance of class and life that will occur daily.

Breaks Required

Time outs and breaks more than double football game time and the super bowl was no exception. During half-time, the players went to their locker rooms and presumably got motivational speeches from the coaches.  Lady Gaga’s halftime performance was spectacular. The drone show was particularly awesome. Time outs allow for players to get a rest and for spectators to run to the kitchen or bathroom.  These breaks are an integral part of the game.

What can I learn from this?

Everyone , including me, needs a regular rest. I have to step away from my computer from time to time. I have to enjoy the weekend sunshine. I have to realize that extreme productivity requires extensive rest as well. I have to give myself a break and not push every minute of every day.

Finish Strong

The Patriots, this year’s winning team, were behind for most of the entire game. At the end of the third quarter, the score was still 28 points for Falcons to the 9 points for the Patriots. Many people thought it was a route and the game was over. Nevertheless, the Patriots had a plan, and they continued following it in the face of defeat even as it seemed they were never going to succeed. Again and again, Brady was sacked on the field, yet they soldiered on. In the fourth quarter, Brady led his Patriots team back to tie the game 28-28 and go into overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history, ultimately ending the game with a win of 34-28.


What can I learn from this?

It isn’t over until it’s over. I shouldn’t give up on my plans, my goals, or my dreams even when it seems that all hope is lost. I shouldn’t be overwhelmed by currently attempted distasteful changes in my country but should continue to stand up for what I know is right. I can represent my beliefs even when getting knocked down. To do this, I must continue to fight the good fight for good grammar even when frustrated students get angry with their grades, for human equality even when frightened people reject American ideals, for a healthy environment even when short-sighted officials make ruinous policies, and for my own dreams even when I feel they are unobtainable.  

I won’t always be the Tom Brady who overcomes the deficient and wins the game;


sometimes, I’ll be the Mat Ryan who watches the expected success go up in smoke.


Either way,

I’ll finish strong!

Important lessons can be found in unexpected places, even football games, music extravaganzas and commercials. We grow, or we stagnate.

Where will you find your lessons this week?