Lessons from Super Bowl XXXIX

Last weekend’s Super Bowl’s memorable moment might be from the boat parade after and not the game. Naturally it got me thinking about some the most memorable Super Bowl moments in years past.

One of those moments was Malcolm Butler’s interception of Russell Wilson in final seconds of Super Bowl 39. The thing I love about that moment is that there is an actual sales lesson to be learned from one of the most unlikely Super Bowl stars.

Malcolm Butler began his career in the NFL as an undrafted rookie, which means three things:

a.      He probably won’t make an NFL team.

b.      If he makes the team, he won’t get much playing time.

c.       If he makes the team and he gets playing time, it’s because the team is really, really bad.

However, none of the above was the case with Malcolm Butler. He worked hard, prepared intensely, and aggressively went after opportunities.  His hard work earned him the right to be a cornerback on arguably the most successful sports franchise in the last 20 years IN THE SUPER BOWL!

The Scene: After winning their first three Super Bowls early in the Brady and Belichick era, the Patriots are about to lose for the third consecutive time in the Super Bowl. These three losses had very similar endings where their opponent drives down the field at the end of the game and crushes their dreams. The game is about to follow that exact script. Their opponents (Seattle Seahawks) have the ball near the goal line. All they have to do is run the ball and the Patriots defense will do everything they can to stop it…but probably won’t be able to.  And the ending seems eminent.

Here is what happened: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7rPIg7ZNQ8.

The Seahawks ended up calling a pass play. It caught everyone off guard…except Malcolm Butler. He was so prepared that he knew what was about to happen. Watch it again at this other link below and see how quickly and aggressively Butler makes a break for where the ball is being going to be. The link has regular and half speed.  https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2pguzs. If Butler was wrong, he would be on the wrong side of a highlight video for the rest of his life and his Hall of Fame coach and Hall of Fame QB would see him in their nightmares. If he was not ready to react immediately to what he saw, he would not get there in time. His preparation allowed him to react to the situation with a confidence and aggressiveness that produced one of the greatest plays in American Sports History.

What sales lesson can we learn from Malcolm Butler?

1.  Prepare  Use your resources to gain a deep knowledge and understanding of your customers and future customers. You might not have game film to look at or a Hall Of Fame Quarterback to ask, but you do have Google, LinkedIn, Social Media and company websites to study.

2.  Trust Yourself  Malcolm Butler trusted his instincts in the biggest moment of his career because he did the  hard work prior. You have prepared and are ready for this moment.  

3.  Be Aggressive When you see an opportunity you worked hard for, go and get it! 

When you prepare, prepare, prepare and at the right moment, you are aggressive and trust your instincts… you will not only put yourself in position to win more… you will win more.