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Winning Wins, Losing Loses

Did you watch the Super Bowl?

Would you believe me if I told you that this was the first Super Bowl that I have really looked forward to and watched from front to back in years?

During the game, they flashed to the Santa Monica beach with the famous pier in the background. And people were frolicking at the beach. It was after all in the 80s yesterday here in the city of La La.

They had no care that a game with fast oversized men were playing in the new big spaceship-looking SoFi stadium down the street. I could not help but admire their individualism.

In fact I lied, I did not watch the game front to back, although I wanted to.

Samo Pier
Samo Pier

So my schedule was to get up early and pound out some leftover work from last week and prep for this week.

I strategically ended around 1 pm in order to give me time to catch my favorite Sunday indulgence. Billions. Since the game would take my usual time slot I give it to Billions.

Timing it out to end with some clock for me to run to the grocery store.

And then my youngest comes in mid Billions and asks if I will tote him to Hermosa Beach to meet up with his pals at a bar for the game. 

The ride down to the beach with my young man gave me that one-on-one solitude that a parent craves as their kids become less dependent and too busy.

I noticed that the streets were unusually empty. Almost 2020 empty. More than the usual Sunday Morning empty Sidewalks   (analogy in tribute to Kris Kristofferson-“Sunday Morning Sidewalk”).

I dropped off the boy at the beach and got to the grocery store minutes prior to kick off. I was severely off schedule lol

I rushed to get what I was there to get. While taking the time to notice the workers and shoppers. Usually, in this situation, I hear mumblings from patrons talking about the upcoming game, shirts, or jerseys of their favorite players. 

Nada. It was almost like any other day, but emptier. Kind of refreshing that these folks were seeming without care that a huge game was happening, just minutes down the street.  I admired that.

Of course, the Rams won.


Why do I say predictably? Because I have a philosophy.

Winners win, losers lose.

Their opponents, the Bengals have not been to a Super Bowl since when I played in college in 1984. It did not slip past me that the announcer on NBC was Chris Collinsworth who made some big-time plays in that 1984 game. He also made a crucial fumble. And they lost.

The Rams have been to the dance in LA,  Anaheim,  St Louis, and on their second Los Angeles life.

Now, you can hardly call the Bengals losers. They did make it to the big game after all.

However, not knowing anything else. It would be a decent bet to edge toward the Rams victory.

The contrast is more obvious when you look at a program over years that has never made it to the playoffs. Losing is a habit in that case.

But so is winning.

Culturally a losing program is corrupt just based on consistency. And why often the only fix is a massive disruption with an ending of all involved symbolically and directly.

And why coaches mostly get fired.

This coaching replacement alone can cause a few more wins having not changed much else.

Because often baked into that new coach and culture is new hope.

So as a business person if you lead an army of worker bees or if you are the CEO and the janitor of your own enterprise. You do not have the luxury of all that coaching.

You must coach yourself.

And find the minutia that is the difference that makes the difference for you and your enterprise. And exaggerate and embrace those.

And find those wins small as that they might be, and celebrate them. When I interviewed my friend Jim Mora when he coached UCLA. He told me that they celebrate everything. Even stuff they do not like. Such as a kid announcing that he is transferring out of UCLA!

Have you listed what you can win daily and that over time would lead to your end goals?… or at least sub-goals that lead to big goals? Celebrate your wins!

So why do I speak so irreverently about the Super Bowl?

I am not irreverent. I do have an issue with the modern game’s proclivity to insert politics where it does not belong. To incentivize such that even younger schools take part in the corruption.

But so is to be human.

No, the reason is that I once had the opportunity to coach a young man who is now a super bowl champ.

His first championship was when he was about 9 on our youth team. He would win lots in high school, and lead the nation in kick-off returns in college.

Yet he was not even drafted. He fought to make the practice squad at the Falcons and then special teams, then a starter. Then the Atlanta Falcons fired all the staff and him!

He literally had to do it all over again in LA. This time he hired an off-season coach to bulk up in the off-season. And he made the Rams and now he gets a champions ring.

As one of my first coaching mentors once told me, you are not ever not their coach.

So I always support my kids till I am done here on Terra Firma. I recently lost my own high school coach. (Rest in Peace Coach Bill Seward) And my goodness he was coaching me up the last time we spoke this past Fall. I had no idea he knew his demise was fast approaching.

Jack Youngblood

And, I tend to have an affection for the LA Rams of yore. I even know that their old offices were on Pico. Because as a kid I would send letters to that address for autographs, schedules, posters etc.

My first heroes were of that team. Merlin Olsen, Tom Mack, Nolan Cromwell, Roman Gabriel, Wendel Tyler, Jack Snow. And of course the fierce Jack Youngblood who played in the Super Bowl with a broke leg! They are what along with others inspired my love for the game.

As my football playing ribbon was getting tied up, my high school teammate would play for Roman Gabriel at Cal Poly Pomona on their last team ever. Prior to him living his own NFL dream for ten years with the Houston Oilers.

After my final year at the University of Pacific I was at a graduation party and was able to meet Merlin Olsen. His daughter was one of my first neighbors when I got to school.

So despite all that, I admire the independents. Because I have got more than one gear. I advocate this approach lots as it makes it impossible to commoditize you. You are multi dimensional. 


Entrepreneurs tend to have more than one gear. And tend to be sigma.  Lone wolfs. And because of that run in more than one gear.  Seemingly leaving  others behind but called on by the team to save the day .

Dream big, change the world. The world does not want to change. Why leaders like you can change it. Just do not listen to their noise.

There may not be an I in the team. But sometimes the I needs to disrupt the game.

Consider that future hall of famer Aaron Donald of the Rams ended the game by tackling the opposing quarterback before he could throw it to a wide open receiver Ja’Marr Chase.  Sheer will by Donald saved and put an end to the game.

last play

by Coach Tim O’Keefe @
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