The glorious Super Bowl game and victory parade down the Canyon of Heroes for the New York Giants may be just a memory now, but we shouldn’t forget the lessons behind those stunning moments. It wasn’t just a battle of the Super Quarterbacks, Eli Manning of the Giants and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, exciting as they were that day.
According to Daily News reporter Ralph Vacchiano, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin’s speech to his entire team the night before the Super Bowl went over three themes he had been repeating since their first meeting back in July – Finish, Belief and Love. http://nydn.us/xg6RHS
Coughlin started the season by showing the Giants a video of a high school cross-country runner from California named Holland Reynolds, a female athlete who courageously crawled across the finish line after she collapsed to secure a medal for her team. Coughlin replayed the video before they left for Indianapolis to reinforce that each player needed to finish everything they started, both in practice and in the game. It‘s a stirring video for everyone to watch, so I’ve put in the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqBerM9FPwA
Reynolds, in subsequent interviews, talked about her determination: “It never occurred to me that I might not finish.” http://bit.ly/zm35Zs
Coughlin’s last presentation, according to Myers, was not the usual fiery pre-game speech, but came straight from the heart, and covered the last two parts of his mantra – belief and love. He told them how their belief in themselves had inspired thousands of fans and he declared “I love every guy in this room.” His inspiration resulted in incredible plays by the entire team, including wide receivers Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham, who made a spectacular fourth quarter catch.
No matter what your career struggles are, it’s good to remember that competition does not have to feel like a relentless battle. Instead, a combination of ‘finish, belief and love’ for the team around you–whether it’s business colleagues, friends or family –can carry you over the finish line a winner, just like Holland Reynolds, and just like the Giants!
As the world continues to reel over the magnitude of the on-going earthquake trauma in Haiti, a ray of hope for eventual healing emerged in an unexpected place — New Orleans — and in an unexpected arena — the Super Bowl. It has been five years since the world watched as Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the levees surrounding that city and resulted in the death of more than 1,800 residents and forced a massive displacement for thousands of families.
The New Orleans Saints had never made it to the Super Bowl and they seemed to offer little inspiration to a city that needed to learn how to win again. That all changed this year. The Saints were the clear underdogs going into the Super Bowl against the legendary quarterback Peyton Manning and his Indianapolis Colts. Despite a slow start, the Saints rallied to take the trophy 31-17. In the interviews that followed, it became clear that the whole city of New Orleans took this win as their own – and declared the team’s victory as proof their town was back on its feet. Based on the fact that this Super Bowl drew the largest audience of any televised event in U.S. history, there may be an argument that the nation embraced the Saints as well.
While the Saints, and New Orleans as well, seemed to have the odds stacked against them, it all turned around again in a moment. Endless news stories about the generosity of the team members, and in particular the quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton, reflects the now-seamless identity of team and town. The branding of this city and team is a great case study in creating the best possible kind of brand loyalty. Who Dat Nation can truly yell, go, Saints!
For more information on branding, consider attending a special NAWBO-NYC panel – register at www.nawbonyc.org