Millions of us watched the Super Bowl yesterday and as seems to be the case lately it was a great game. And, in close games in always comes down to leadership on the football field and on the sidelines. With all due respect to The Pittsburgh Steelers, who have a first class organization and long winning tradition, the Green Bay Packers were the superior led team in the big game. While I am certainly of fan of the Head Coach and General Manager of the Packers, I want to focus this blog on the quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
I could write a much larger piece on Aaron’s overall leadership talents and recent history with the organization, but prefer to focus on the Super Bowl game and two weeks leading up to it. Here are 5 things I felt he did especially well:
1) He always kept the focus on the team and the end objective and avoided attempts to make it about him personally. You can sense an overall humility about the man and that there is very little misplaced ego;
2) He was very well prepared and didn’t seem confused by much of what the Steeler defense had to throw at him. This is not something very many quarterbacks can say in this league. It would have been easy to get distracted by the hoopla surrounding the spectacle of the game but he didn’t;
3) He didn’t get down on himself or his teammates when a mistake was made. There were many dropped balls that would have made a lesser leader crumble under this type of pressure. Instead he would instinctively go back to the teammate who made the gaffe and give that individual a chance to redeem himself;
4) He stayed confident and kept his emotions in check. You never once got the sense that he was anxious or overly nervous about what he had to do. He just went out and did it. He was one cool customer and led by example;
5) He was technically sound and didn’t do anything to beat his own team or put them in an adverse situation. He simply took the plays the defense gave him and managed the associated risks effectively. This is much harder to do in big games when so much is on the line as his peer quarterbacking the other team proved several times.
I know a lot of people get tired of sports metaphors for business and life, but they can still sometimes ring true. Everything Aaron did well is applicable in our personal and professional lives. I didn’t really have a horse in this race as a fan. I just wanted to see a good game and my expectations were exceeded. We also observed one of the best leadership performances I can remember in a long time on a football field (and during the two weeks leading up to the game). It was both subtle and impressive to watch. My congratulations to the Green Bay Packers for their well deserved win. I also want thank Aaron Rodgers for giving me the chance to show my kids what true leadership looks like in professional sports today.