Business: How Super Bowl XLIX Became A Small Biz Class


You gotta be sh-ttin me!

First I have to admit, I’ve never been to an MBA class. I’ve lectured in front of a couple of them, but I never went to business school so I can’t really say that the Super Bowl was anything like a course on business. What I can do is talk about how I coached basketball. I can talk about how in a number of games I out-coached myself causing us to lose games. In the words of some random lying dude, “See…what had happened was-” that’s how I imagine Pete Carroll, is speaking right now. You know Pete Carroll right? The last guy to coach the 4 time Super Bowl champion Patriots prior to Grandpa Grumpy “I’m wearing this sweatshirt come hell or high water” Belichick took over to build a dynasty. Somewhere Pete is saying to the people around him, “See…what had happened was-” and we all know what happens when a guy starts a sentence that way. There’s a lie coming that we can all see through with Stevie’s eyes; but how does this make the Super Bowl an MBA class?

In my head the MBA is about learning as much as you can about the aspects of business. You spend two-three years of your life preparing to enter a business that is unpredictable and never goes anything according to plan. You know how you wrote that 45 page business plan and did monthly projections only to find that two weeks into your business the whole business plan needs to be tossed to make sense of the fact that although you have enough money you still can’t get people to your website, or you don’t have enough money to make this business work. Whatever it is, the MBA is supposed to prepare you by throwing everything it can at you as quickly as possible and as often as possible to simulate the real way a business works. I guess the same can be said about any course of study: college or trade. Everything is thrown in the air and you have to find a way to organize it and make it work. Last night everything was thrown in the air and Coach Carroll made all of the right decisions and then…

When I was coaching we played a team named Clairemont (It’s the school where Fast Times at Ridgemont High, took place. What does this matter? It doesn’t, but it makes me feel important. Kanye Shoulder Shrug). Earlier in the season I taught my team a press and we trapped the hell out of the guards and took away any opportunity for them to get into a rhythm. We won that game by 20. When we were getting ready to play them again, I put in some funky new plays and went away from what worked. In my mind I was saying that there wasn’t any way in hell for this coach to have not trained his players to beat the old press, so I changed the plays. The kids were kind of looking at me like, “Coach? What the hell?” I didn’t have an assistant and I was a young coach. What I did though was I out-coached myself. It didn’t matter that the other team had prepared. They would have to prove that they had prepared and instead of making them prove it, I changed everything up and dropped back into a zone. I’m sitting on the bench like, “Ah ha! You weren’t ready for that!” Clairemont scores 3 threes to open the game, we go down on their home floor by 9 immediately and I’m trying to figure out what the hell happened. One of my player’s dad is yelling from the stands, “Press em coach!” But in my wisdom, I’m like ‘no press, let’s go man.’ They run a couple of set plays and score on backdoor layups. I have to call a time out. The kids are frustrated and I’m thrown for a loop. We end up losing this game by 3. We press the whole second half, but never recover from that 15 points in the first half.

Does this have anything at all to do with the Super Bowl last night? You’re damn right (In my Shaft voice). Coach Carroll in his wisdom, I mean the guy was a guru at USC and was the defending Super Bowl coach, over coached the situation. Somewhere in his little Coach mind he told himself, “Ah Ha! Bet you thought Marshawn was getting the ball Grumpy Grandpa Sweatshirt!” At the same time Grumpy Grandpa simply told his defense, “Work your ass off to stop these guys.”

In business we create these plans. We talk about starting a business. We talk about how we are going to do all of these great things. We go to seminars and events to prepare. We get all of the information and then instead of doing what my company commander in the military, or my college basketball coach told me to do: K.I.S.S. it, we outcoach ourselves and we fail in business by no fault of the outside world. We fail because we didn’t K.I.S.S. it: Keep It Simple Stupid.

There are going to be moments, like in last night’s big game, where the obvious thing is so straightforward and simple, that it just doesn’t feel like it should work. Your job is to take the easy path. There is somewhere out there a video of Bruce Lee telling people, “be water”. His point is water moves with the flow and gets to where it’s supposed to be by the simplest most obvious path. Business is the same way. As much as I like to tell people that business is hard, it isn’t. The mistakes I’ve made in business have always been a result of my over-thinking my situation. For instance, I’ve brokered two deals in the last two weeks. These deals netted one of the people 300 items. The person on the opposite end earned himself about 45,000 dollars. I made about 3500.00 bucks. I didn’t make much in relation to the deal, but what I did was assume the fact that I brokered the deal would open me up to getting something from the person on the money end. I didn’t have anything in writing. No confirmation that this would happen. I assumed. Now we know what assuming does right? It makes an ass out of u and me.

What I should have done was say, ” Hey, once this deal is done, I expect to get first consideration on this next deal.” It was this simple, but instead of K.I.S.S. ing it, I made things more complicated. This happened again when I decided to look for funding by leveraging my online store for a line of credit with a company that shall not be named. The Voldemort of online credit options. The easiest thing for me to do would have been create a monthly cash flow spreadsheet and look at my options and make purchases accordingly. Unfortunately I didn’t know to do this and I created a problem because of my ignorance and my decision to overthink the situation.

In other words, Pete Carroll should have given Beast Mode the ball. It really was that simple. Just like in business, things are never really that complicated at all when you K.I.S.S. it (this also goes for relationships guys when you are trying to get in good with your wife/girlfriend – insert gross face here).