Vince Lombardi once said, “The only place ‘SUCCESS‘ comes before ‘WORK‘ is in the dictionary.”
 
I am convinced that many of the teams in today’s league could use his words of wisdom. When you look at some of these teams from week to week, there is no other explanation as to why the level of play changes so drastically. I honestly believe that many of these teams subconsciously decide to take games off, based on the opponent in front of them. The laziness and nonchalant attitude may not be blatant, but on Monday morning, when the results are in the books, it is apparent.
 
My salary is a small fraction of what many of these athletes earn, and I don’t have the luxury to take days off. I cannot decide that I want to give only half the effort this week, simply because the task at hand is not “important” enough to me. I can’t justify to my employer that I didn’t pay attention to detail, or make sure the little things were in order, simply because I thought I could accomplish my task by being considered the “best” at my role. That would be unacceptable. I would be disciplined accordingly. And again, I am being paid a laughable fraction of what some of these athletes make.
 
Many of them could use Lombardi’s wisdom and mentality. SUCCESS cannot be achieved without putting in the WORK each and every day. Not just on game day, but every day. Every practice. Every film session. Being prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally to put 100% into each and every play, prove you’re the better team, and walk away without regrets.
 
Here is WHAT I THINK I LEARNED FROM THE NFL in Week 13:
 
1. BALTIMORE entered into Week 13 with a priceless opportunity. At home, against their arch-rivals, with the chance to shore up their division title. The hadn’t lost at Home in 2 years. Instead of spending every minute planning on how to demolish the injury-bitten STEELERS, I believe they focused on what happened the previous week. Pittsburgh suffered a loss to the Cleveland Browns, where they committed 8 total turnovers in the game. Baltimore prepared for a “wounded dog”, and they got bit.
 
2. SAN FRANCISCO has yet to realize what every football fan is starting to realize. ST. LOUIS just has their “number”. The Rams are like that left-handed fighter that you just don’t want to face. I think the 49ers’ success with QB Colin Kaepernick over the past few weeks (against Chicago and New Orleans) had them thinking they were in a great place. They ran into a team who has their number, and got a wake-up call.
 
3. Their team isn’t in the best condition right now either way, but I can honestly say, at least for this week, I expected more from CAROLINA. Check each week of the NFL season. Everyone beats up on KANSAS CITY. I even tried to pick up Carolina’s defense in my Fantasy Football League, thinking it could be an extra boost to my points for this week. After the way their offense has jump-started over the past few weeks, I thought the Panthers would have a field day. I think they thought, and prepared, the same way.
 
4. NEW YORK GIANTS. I won’t really refer to their game against the REDSKINS, as much as I look at their effort as a whole. They do this every season. They start off hot, we start talking about Eli Manning as being a top quarterback, and the defense is clicking. Once we get fully sold on them as a “contender” to win another Super Bowl, they start to falter. Their offense becomes stagnant. Their defense can’t defend a pee-wee football team. Doubt starts to creep in, and as soon as we start bashing them, they put a beating on the next “contender” they face. Watch out Atlanta in Week 15.
 
These are a few of my examples from Week 14, but there are so many others who seem to have the same flaws, but found a way to escape them. We need more Lombardi’s in the league. Mentors who refuse to take a week off. Where “almost”, or “good enough” just doesn’t count.
 
When that mind-set kicks in, we’ll have a “favorite” to win it all this year. But I haven’t witnessed it just yet. Until then, this season is still up for grabs.
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