What We Can All Learn from Superbowl XLIX

I’m not sure if you know this, but the Superbowl was last night.  All of ‘MURICA stops to watch some guys in tight pants chase each other around, then slap each other on the butt.  This comes with lots of testosterone, athletic prowess, and the occasional concussion.

More importantly, it comes with some great lessons for everyone, whether you’re a diehard fan, or think that real football is about the World Cup. Bear with me as we explore the fitness version of the popular phrase:

Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.

If you’re not a football fan, don’t worry.  The Superbowl was the first, and now last, football game I’ve watched all season.  Growing up as a marching band kid, it was always about half-time for me.  Through high school and my first years of college, I was more concerned with the drum line than the offensive line.  It wasn’t until I thought about football as high-speed Wizard’s Chess that it started to make sense.  Let’s get into the game.

Here’s a precise and concise explanation of what happened last night:


Yes, that’s the reaction of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to a goal-line interception from Malcolm Butler of the Pats.  The best offense in the league beat the best defense in the league…with their defense.  I believe that will keep the phase “Offense wins games, defense wins championships” alive and well for a few more years at least.

Now, let’s move on from football to life, where the exact same thing is true.  Let’s consider our habits, and how they impact our health.  Creating habits that positively impact our health is being on offense.  Eliminating or replacing habits that negatively impact our health is going on defense.  Something new can serve as a beneficial change in your life, but it’s the elimination of the old habits that makes the biggest difference in our long-term success.

Think about that for a second.  That means you have the power to pick the habits that you want to create, maintain, or break.  Let these sharks help you pick:


We spend so much time focusing on doing new things, that we may miss out on replacing or changing the old things  that are actually holding us back.  For example, the biggest indicator that someone will start a diet is that they’ve done a diet in the past.  The biggest indicator that someone will try a new workout plan is that they’ve tried a new workout in the past.  That doesn’t sound like a practice of success, does it?

I don’t think so.

There isn’t anything wrong with trying something creative or new, but it shouldn’t be a stand-in for a solid defense.  We often need to channel our creativity into building that secure defense before we created offensive strategies.  Trying new things doesn’t help us win the proverbial championship of our lives.

The new diet, the online health newsletter, the weekly yoga class, the “low-calorie” happy hour, the new spin class, the IIFYM:  None of these are more than a trend in your life if you don’t apply elements of them in the long term.  More important, none of them really matter if you don’t address the other holes in your defense.

We need better defense.

The entire weekends off from that diet, the parts of your newsletter you ignore, the minor metabolic benefits of yoga, the jalapeno poppers along with that rum and Diet Coke, that ‘toning’ cardio.  Many new behaviors can have a measly effect compared to addressing the big rocks that may be holding us back.  Changing the habits that are holding us back are often more important than building habits that may ineffectively move us forward.

Let’s take a stand against the pageantry we create for ourselves so we can move on to more important things.  These more important things are easy to identify and adjust.  What are the habits that are holding us back, and what are the habits that cause us the most issues as we move forward in our lives.  Modifying or eliminating those things, serves far better than trying new things.  We don’t need more offense.  We need a better defense.

If you watched every second of the NFL season, or if you tuned in for the Katy Perry concert last night, there was something big to learn from Superbowl XLIX: Offense wins games.  Defense wins championships.  When you identify the holes in your personal defense, then you’re ready to soar.




One Reply to “What We Can All Learn from Superbowl XLIX”

  1. I love your application of “Defense wins championships” to health/wellness! I was going to make a rebuttal for offense, but realized that a lot of my more successful health changes have been defensive with a sprinkle of offense at the right times. 🙂

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