Sunday, October 12, 2008

Aim High

A good friend of mine recently sent me the following e-mail regarding the Redskins and their progression through this season. I am sharing it with you not only because I think it’s a great analysis, but because it has relevance in business and in life. The moral of the story is to set high goals because you just might achieve them. When you have the courage and conviction to aim high and pursue lofty goals, you give yourself the opportunity to achieve great things.

It also speaks to the progression and maturation of teams. I've been thinking about this a lot recently and how those lessons might be applied in the office as well as on the field. I'm not convinced it's the best metaphor yet, but there are a great deal of similarities. I'd love your thoughts/ideas on the topic.

And, without further ado, Brendan Emerson…

"Are we ready to get the Bandwagon out of the garage? After a 4-1 start, and wins at Dallas and Philadelphia, the Skins need to readjust their goals. Just making the playoffs is not sufficient enough now; especially with the way the schedule sets up the rest of the season, the NFC East title and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs needs to be the goal. Aim high. Why not the Skins?

Have you lost your mind, you might ask. No, my faculties are all there and firing. The key in analyzing the NFL is taking a present approach; a sense of recent history is fine, but with free agency, coaching changes, injuries, recent results, etc., the NFL is constantly fluid, even on a weekly basis.The Patriots, with an injury to Tom Brady in the opener, after a 16-0 regular season and a transcendent catch away from a Super Bowl title, will be lucky to make the playoffs. The offensive-challenged Titans, 4-0. Chargers, last year's AFC Championship game participants, 2-3 and reeling. The Colts, proposed Super Bowl contenders, a few questionable decisions by opponents from being 0-4. Questions arise about Dallas; two weeks away from a 3-0 start, but a defeat to the Skins and a shaky win over the hapless Bungles, are an imminent volcanic episode from T.O. away from possible internal implosion. And the Giants, who as recently as Week 15 of last year after the 22-10 defeat to the Skins, were said to be on the precipice of firing Tom Coughlin. Four playoff wins on the road, a Super Bowl title, a 4-0 start to this season, and they're now the present standard bearer of NFL stability and efficiency.

As children and adolescents weaned on Joe Gibbs 1.0 success, we all know how essential home field advantage throughout the playoffs can be. Every year the Skins have hosted the NFC Championship game ('82, '83,'87, '91) they've made the Super Bowl; their one NFC Championship game loss in that tenure: '86 to the Giants in the Meadowlands.

That's the key. Getting home field advantage away from the Giants and Cowboys. The Cowboys and Giants return trips to FedEx will be HUGE. Two guarantees: A) The NFC East winner will host the NFC Championship Game and B) If that winner is the Skins, no one will beat the Skins in January in FedEx with the Super Bowl on the line. Ain't gonna happen, even if it's the Giants or Cowboys.

As always, one game at a time, but AIM HIGH."

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