Lessons from a Super Bowl Winner…and Loser

It’s been over a month since Super Bowl LII, one of the more exciting big games in recent history. While I am not a fan of either team, especially not the Eagles, I often find myself thinking about the two quarterbacks. They each shared, what I consider to be, important lessons in the aftermath of the game.

USA Today called Nick Foles, “one of the most unlikely Super Bowl MVP’s in NFL history.” If you consider how the season started, that may be an understatement. During the first thirteen games of the season, Carson Wentz was the likely MVP of the league, leading the Eagles to an 11-2 record, but he suffered a massive knee injury during the win over the Rams, ending his season.

Enter Nick Foles.

Foles has had a career of ups and downs. In 2013, his second season, he had a fantastic year, throwing 27 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. However, by 2016, he was released by the Rams and considered retiring from football. Lucky for Eagles fans, he didn’t.

In the aftermath of winning the Super Bowl MVP Award, Foles commented on FAILING as a stepping stone to success. Foles said,

“I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail. In our society today, with Instagram and Twitter, it’s a highlight. It’s all the good things. When you look at it, you have a bad day, you think your life isn’t as good, you’re failing. Failure is a part of life. It’s a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times, made mistakes. We all are human. We all have weaknesses. Just being able to share that and be transparent. I know when people speak and share their weaknesses, I listen. Because I can (relate). I’m not perfect. I’m not Superman. We might be in the NFL and we might have just won the Super Bowl, but we all have daily struggles. That’s where my faith comes in. That’s where my family comes in. I think when you look at a struggle in your life, just know that it’s an opportunity for your character to grow.”

At the apex of his career, he was humble enough to talk about his failures leading to future successes. So many people are dejected by losses or setbacks and don’t take the time to find the lesson. Clearly, Foles learned from his struggles and became a better quarterback, leader, and person from those lessons.

On the losing side of the game, Tom Brady, arguably the best quarterback ever, posted his thoughts on Instagram a few days after the game. Contrary to Foles' comment about Instagram being only for highlights, Brady was genuine in his post. In 200 words, he showed that he is not only a great quarterback, but a great person as well.

It has taken me a few days to reflect on our SB loss as well as the great season our team had. There are many emotions when you come up short of your goal. And they are all part of learning and growing in this journey of life. Learning turns everything into a positive. And the number one feeling I have had the past 4 days is gratitude. Gratitude to my teammates for the incredible effort given all season regardless of the challenges we faced. Gratitude toward my coaches for the effort and sacrifice they make to put us players in the best position to win. Gratitude to the NEP organization for supporting us on our very challenging and difficult journey. Gratitude to the Philadelphia Eagles team and organization for bringing out the best in us and being gracious winners (as well as congratulations on winning the championship). Gratitude toward our fans who showed up every week to cheer us on and commit their time and energy and love and support to what our goals are. And gratitude to my family and friends who continue to love and support my dreams. Thank you all. I love you all.
Best, Tom”

If that’s not losing with class, I don’t know what is.

While some may say that it’s easy to have gratitude when you have the life of Tom Brady, I think it’s important that he shared that message in losing. It’s a great lesson for all, but especially for children. He didn’t blame anyone. He was humble. There wasn’t a negative word in there. He didn’t use the word “but”, like many do to soften the message. Clearly, he was gracious in defeat.

In a word, I thought his post was awesome.

The winner talked about failing and the loser talked about gratitude. I hope that I can continue to learn from my losses, be gracious when they happen, and use them as stepping stones towards the next win.