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Lesson from Super Bowl XLII : "4 Pts down is better than 3…"

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“This is the position you want to be in … you like being down 4 points at the end of the game and you gotta to score a touchdown to win. If your down 3 points you might settle for a field goal [so] you’re not as aggressive.”

This is what quarterback of the New York Giants, Eli Manning had to say this evening when asked to explain his team’s stunning — make that, “an absolute shock to the sports world” — comeback to win Super Bowl XLII, with a score of 17-14, against the New England Patriots. New England had been all oddsmakers’ favorite to win, which would’ve made it a Pats’ Perfect Season.

Behind most of the game, and down 4 points with just minutes left on the clock, Manning drove his team the length of the field in a series of gutsy plays — including one they’re calling the “Eli Miracle” and in the last 40 seconds, gunned it into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. It was thrilling, for sure, if only because the odds were so stacked against the play — as the video clip shows (suffer through the ad, and listen to the commentary).

Manning’s point is a good one to remember next time you feel neck-deep and against he odds in your startup: Sometimes it takes a slightly larger challenge to draw the high performance out of you. And in case you think this game is just a one-off metaphor for overcoming big odds, think again.

Manning is a walking case study for how to dig yourself out of a pit in the name of ambition: He threw more interceptions than any other “signal caller,” as QBs are known in the league during the regular season (hey founder’s, signal caller: that’s you!), which got him beaten up by the press for being the first “legacy draft pick in the NFL” and taunts that the Giants had overpaid for him as a first overall pick in the NFL draft. (His brother is Peyton Manning.)

Listen to what Manning had to say about finding his way out of the pit (substitute ‘QB’ for ‘founder’ and game for, well your game):

“As a quarterback you can never lose your confidence. You might have some bad plays, I might throw some interceptions, but you have to go into each game and think I can do it, I can wing this… I knew I just needed to give it some time, this is not an easy game to play, but I knew I could play [it] at a higher level. I just had to believe in myself, keep working and it would come.”

One Response to “Lesson from Super Bowl XLII : "4 Pts down is better than 3…"”

  1. At the MVP press conference this morning Eli Manning noted that the quarterback gets all the credit when things go well and all the credit when things go poorly but that it’s about a total team effort. I think this translates very well to founders.