Super Bowl Lesson - Have Confidence In your Plan

Yesterday's Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons was gut wrenching for every spectator. At any given point in the game, viewers were either disgusted or elated.

First Quarter - 

Every fan was disappointed in the first quarter. The two most high scoring offenses in football did not score. Even the defensive teams were sluggish. Nobody really made a great play. Nothin happened. But underneath it all, each team was getting comfortable. They were probing and reacting. It was like a couple of heavy weight fighters dancing around the ring, jabbing at each other with neither team really landing.

Second Quarter - 

Atlanta Fans jumping from their seats while New England fans sat back, disgusted, hope was lost. The data says that no team in history has ever come back from a 21-3 deficit. In fact, according to Sporting News, there were 20 points in the game where the Falcons had a 99% chance of winning. At one point, they had a 99.7% chance of winning.

Half Time

Atlanta fans must have enjoyed the Lady Gaga halftime. I cannot even imagine the locker room discussion of each team. But somewhere inside of me, I must believe that the Patriots came out of half time thinking that they could still win. They did what they do. They adjusted.

Third Quarter

The third quarter started out with a spiriting lift to New England. Somewhere in here, the announcer mentioned that the Falcons Offense had not been on the field in nearly an hour and a half. They held Atlanta to a quick 3 and out, and had great field position after a fair punt and a decent return. But that excitement quickly wained as Atlanta quickly shut the Patriots down and forced a punt.

The one thing that you noticed about the second half of the game was that neither team was really rattled. Atlanta was comfortable with their lead. They knew that the Patriots would have their plays on both sides of the ball. The Patriots finally scored a touchdown, but missed the extra point. Atlanta scored one too. Atlanta added another point to their lead in the third, so they won another quarter.

Fourth Quarter

You had a sense that the Patriots had to take risks in the forth quarter.  They needed to outscore the Falcons by 19 points to tie the game. They needed to outscore the Falcons by 20 points to win. And remember, the Falcons were the highest scoring team in Football during the season with a quarterback who won the MVP award during the regular season for scoring a lot and not turning the ball over. New England had to do to the Falcons what the Falcons did to them in the second quarter, only better.


New England must have had a strange feeling about this game. If you did not look at the score, and simply looked at the stats, you would think that New England was crushing the Falcons. Their time of possession on offense was double that of Atlanta, as was their yardage from scrimmage. The two teams were pretty equal on their ground game, but the Patriots were gaining far more yards through the air on short and mid range throws.

You must think that somewhere in the heads of the coaching staff of New England they felt like they were executing their plan perfectly. They may have felt that they were on the track to winning.

Check Out These Stats

If you did not look at the box score, and only looked at the performance, you would think that New England blew out the Falcons. And interestingly enough, this was the highest margin of victory for the New England Patriots.

The Patriots had 20 more first downs than the Falcons
The Patriots passed for 200 more yards than the falcons.
New England only had 4 penalties to Atlanta's 9
New England held the ball for 17 minutes longer than Atlanta (more than a full quarter).


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