All Things Being Equal

Say what you will about Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but their decisive win in Super Bowl 55 leaves a lot of lessons to teach us, starting with the team itself.


I remember when the NFL expanded to 28 teams and the Buccaneers were introduced in 1976. This brand new franchise lost a lot of games—while dressed in their ridiculously bright orange uniforms. They were so bad (0-14) their head coach was asked about his players’ execution in a lopsided loss and he said, “I’m all for it.” Today, they are the best team in the NFL. How did they do it, and what can we learn?


We all start as beginners and have to learn how to succeed—the Bucs went 0-26 before winning their first game as a franchise. The turnaround was slow, but included a rebranding in both their uniforms (plus new stadium) and their approach. They built a winning team around a solid defense and a core group of good players who were also good people—many of whom were very active in the surrounding community.


One lesson we can learn is that relationships matter. Many of the coaches that were instrumental in the Bucs winning ways were old friends of head coach Bruce Arians. Another is that age is just a number. Many in the NFL believed that Bruce Arians (a longtime assistant coach) was too old to be a head coach. Experts also felt the team was too old, but veterans (and winners) like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Jean Pierre Paul were the reason for the successful season.


Lastly, surround yourself with great people and judge them based on their talent. Bruce Arian’s coaching staff consisted of two women, and his coordinators were all people of color.




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