The Super Bowl is February 2, 2020 and even if you’re not much of an NFL football fan, it’s hard to deny that the day of the big game has become a kind of unofficial national holiday. Millions of people love to watch the Super Bowl just for the TV commercials and the camaraderie of attending Super Bowl parties, even if they don’t pay attention to the final score. I’ve discovered over the years that the Super Bowl can be a surprisingly inspiring occasion for those of us who are business owners.
Here are a few reasons why entrepreneurs can find inspiration from the Super Bowl.
It’s a Pinnacle of Competition
The National Football League is one of the most competitive leagues on Earth, with 32 teams trying to defeat each other in an intensely physical contact sport; each year, only 1 team is left standing as the champion. There’s something so inspiring about seeing how hard these teams work, how much all of these players and coaches have sacrificed to get to this point, how sophisticated the teams are with their strategic thinking and innovative schemes to outmaneuver each other, how unlikely it is that out of all the thousands and thousands of children who start out playing football on school playgrounds all over America, just a few will reach this point in their careers where they can compete on this stage.
Isn’t that kind of an amazing, inspiring thought? Doesn’t it make you want to be better at your business? Most of us might never compete at the same level of intensity or public scrutiny as the Super Bowl, and that’s OK! But we can all find ways to raise our game in the business world.
It’s a Celebration of Teamwork
Football is the ultimate team sport. Everyone has to be locked in for a common goal, everyone has to buy in to the team concept, everyone has to do their job. There are big name star players and “skill players” and lots of less-recognizable but still essential guys who are grinding it out in “the trenches” on every play. But when the clock expires and the Super Bowl champion celebrates, they celebrate as a team.
That’s one of the things I admire and respect so much about football: sure, it’s important to have star players, but some of the most successful NFL teams are able to sustain their success because they build complex, repeatable systems for identifying talent, developing players, fitting players into the right roles and assignments, and maximizing the potential of every person on the roster. Your business can adopt this same mindset: no one is more important than the team, no one is bigger than the organization. Put the team first, be unselfish, support your teammates in whatever way you can, and your individual results will be likely to get better too.
It’s an Occasion for Trend-Spotting
The Super Bowl is a celebration of American consumer capitalism. Anyone who owns a business should be interested to see what the Super Bowl commercials are advertising this year; it’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of American consumer culture. Which brands are advertising this year? Any big new product announcements? Any ads that are particularly memorable? Any industries that are showing up more than usual?
Advertising on the Super Bowl is so expensive and the cost of a 30-second spot seems to reach astronomical new levels each year, but apparently it’s worth it to these companies to reach one of the biggest live TV audiences in America. Spending some time paying attention to TV commercials during the Super Bowl is often time well-spent to learn a bit more about the larger trends that are affecting your business and your industry. And at the very least, it will give another topic of conversation around the water cooler at work on Monday!
Last but not least: the Super Bowl is often a really good time. Even if the game doesn’t live up to the hype, the TV commercials are often big-budget entertainment productions. The halftime show is always an elaborate spectacle of music and visuals. There’s nonstop running commentary on social media from millions of people reacting to the latest game action or giving trenchant reviews of the latest ads. It may not be perfect, but the Super Bowl is one of the few occasions where almost everyone in America can get together to enjoy a commonly shared experience. Isn’t there something inspiring about that? Attending a Super Bowl party is a great chance to reconnect with friends, make memories with your family, or maybe even get some new ideas for your business.
No matter who you’re rooting for in the Super Bowl, I think we can all agree that it’s a fun and surprisingly inspiring occasion for business owners. It’s one of those days when business owners can reflect on what we’re working for: we want to provide a great life for our families, we want to earn a comfortable and prosperous living, we want to be able to try new things, we want to work with amazing teams of people, we want to keep growing and thriving as people. The Super Bowl, at its best, represents all of these hopes, dreams and values that are so important to entrepreneurs. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!