The New Orleans Saints. Prolific quarterback Drew Brees. The team that inspired a city. Returning Super Bowl champs. Unfortunately, the Saints also ended up being the team that lost to the so-so Seattle Seahawks in the first week of the postseason. A major upset. (Im not sure if this was the biggest upset of the year. Brett Favre returning for another year was pretty upsetting as well.)
While the tragic loss was a blow to my postseason bracket, I couldnt help but analyze the mishaps of their season. We could go on and on… Super Bowl curse, injuries, etc. Instead, I decided to apply what is obvious and turn it into lessons for all us little people (I love writing about sports and public relations. I admit it.)
Dont worry Saints! Your loss wont go without a victory. The Saints taught us:
Being on top is great, but you need to keep evolving: It is great being the best, but you wont stay the best by sitting and enjoying the view. Continue to evolve and grow. Take your career to the next level by adding a new skill set or volunteering to take on a challenging project. Never get comfortable!
Injuries will happen, its all about how you get back into the game: So you make a mistake. Hopefully not a huge mistake, but it happens. Instead of beating yourself up, evaluate what you learned and ensure that it doesnt happen again. Dont harp on it. Pierre Thomas was out with an injury and burst back on to the scene. He could have chalked the season to a loss, but came back fighting and had a great game or two and won me my fantasy league! He is still fighting his ankle injury and potential free agency, but as stated, its all about how you get back into the game.
Home field advantage isnt everything, you have to be able to win the tough games: The Saints were a good team, but they failed to win the big games. Step outside of your comfort zone to grow and get tough. Attend a networking event or join a new professional or volunteer organization. This is the key to continued evolution.
Being a good leader means being a good team player: Sometimes even the best leaders cant get the job done (Sorry Drew!) Being a good leader also means being a good team player. Never let you head get so big that you cant see your faults and how they contributed to the failed project/missed deadline, etc. and dont blame others if it was your fault. The defense didnt throw 18+ interceptions this season. Fall on your sword if its rightfully so. You will be a better and more respected leader in the long run.
Confidence is key, but you might have to prove yourself: The Saints running back, Chris Ivory, was relatively unknown before the season. Have confidence in your abilities. Even if others dont. You might impress somebody and get your big break.
Don’t stop believing, focus on you what you have accomplished: Losing to the Seahawks, a team with a losing record, when youre the returning Super Bowl champs can be tough. I have no doubt that the Saints will come back fighting. If you are out of job or stuck in a job rut, stay positive. The worst thing you can do is give up. Focus on what you are good at and market those skills.
What did you learn from the returning Super Bowl Champs season end?
Full Disclosure: I am a Packers super fan. I wasnt too sad to see them go!