December 13, 2008

Things I didn't know last week - December 13th 2008

This is a post in a regular weekly series about things I've learned or come to realise during the previous week.

This week "Commitment - The Sports Edition"

Being a Brit I, like all Brits, tend to believe we invented most of the sports that matter (Rugby, Soccer - or Football as it is actually known- and Cricket). Naturally we gave these sports to the world and now the world regularly beats our ass at it. We made a hash of the one day internationals in India (that's cricket), most of the best football players in the British leagues are foreign and we haven't won a World Cup in that sport since the year I was born.

But also being something of a polyglot when it comes to things like that I did pick up on that other 'football' game which we like to call "gridiron' and the rest of the world calls the NFL. Yes, that's right, I am a big NFL fan (Go Colts!)

And - for reasons which are too complex to go into here (and which would probably need lots of alcohol or at least a visit to the psychiatrist to work through) I am a huge fan of Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints. Naturally I followed his career since his days at Purdue University (and indeed I even watched his games while he played at Purdue), and this year is especially interesting as he appears to be just about on track to break one of the all time NFL Quarterback records.

The record is most passing yards in a season by a quarterback. The record at the moment is held by Dan Marino at 5384 yards and Brees is currently running first in the league in that category. He's also first in completions, first in attempts, first in attempts per game, first in yards per game, and down the bottom of the table at 28th in number of sacks.

So how come the Saints are losing and might not even make the playoffs?How come o of he leagues leading passers is currently in a struggle to even stay at or above .500 (That's equal wins and losses in a season for the uninitiated)?

Is it coaching decisions? Is it bad play by the rest of the team/ Is it just that they played against stronger overall opponents?

Well checking the comparison stats it appears that the saints are actually better than their opponents in pretty much every category. They are slightly behind in rushing yards but other than that it's looking good. They're also 10 full touchdowns (70 points) further ahead then all their opponents.

But still they're losing. It could be any of the reasons listed above - bad coaching, inability to close out the match, turnovers. just about anything really.

But the point of the discourse isn't really to try and understand the problems the Saints are having with their game, it's the bigger picture. Someone once said "Everything stands for something else. Find out what that 'something else' is and use it". I believe that the 'something else' in this situation is very apropos. I believe that the something else in this picture is balance. Drew and the offence are prolific, high scoring and newsworthy. The defence on the other hand have allowed games to get away from them in the last few moments (take last Thursday's match against the Browns when they let a field goal in overtime take the game away from them).

I don't want to be seen to be getting at the Saints here (that is not my intention), but I think it proves that uless you have the commitment you need for the whole time you are doing something you will never achieve your goal.

What are you currently doing that you are only commiting 90% to? If you changed this, could you get more from what you are doing? I bet you could.

To see all the "Things I didn't know" posts, just click here.

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