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Super Bowl 49

Edwin Neill
Edwin Neill

Sunday was one of the happiest nights of my life. I got to see my beloved Patriots win Super Bowl 49, live, with the love of my life standing and cheering right there beside me.

There are so many amazing things about the night. Many will continue to debate and disagree, especially those fans who love the Seahawks as much as I love the Patriots. And to them, I send my love and the promise that tomorrow will be easier than today. I have felt their pain twice in the last seven years, and it sucks.

What I want to never forget about Sunday night are the lessons I was reminded of throughout the game. In effect, these are lessons I already know and are some of the reasons I love American football so much. Lessons that the Patriots embody day in and day out. Lessons that are applicable as much on the field, as off.

It’s all in (y)our head.

One might expect that throwing two interceptions in the biggest game of the year might mess with your composure, strategy, ability to execute, or that a 10-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter might mean losing faith and giving up. Not the Patriots. Mental toughness means you don’t let an interception or two rattle you. You just keep improving, keep fixing things and adjusting plays until you win.

Edwin Neill
Edwin Neill

Do your job.

While this seems obvious, it’s not as easy as it sounds. When everyone does their job, the job gets done. This resonates with me from my college rowing years. The only way for the boat to go anywhere is for every single person to show up, and do their job. Unless everyone shows up, regardless of how talented are the people on the boat who do show up, the boat does not go anywhere. When everyone shows up but the stroke tries to do the coxswain’s job, the boat does not go anywhere. Show up. Do your job, not anyone else’s job – yours.

It’s not over until it’s over.

The catch by Kearse and the interception by Butler should forever remind fans that a game can change in just a few seconds, and that the game is a sixty minute game.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

Many will say that the interception by Butler is an amazingly lucky catch. And of course, luck should not be underestimated. But luck smiles to those who are prepared for it. That play was practiced by the Patriots over and over again. Butler also recognized the Seahawks’ formation and knew a throw was coming. He positioned himself accordingly. That has nothing to do with luck. That has to do with perfect practice.

Hard work, discipline, and commitment always win.

No explanation necessary.

Edwin Neill
Edwin Neill

Humility is attractive.

While Brady once told Kraft that he was going to be the best decision the team ever made, he is graciously humble. When the team does a bad job, it is because of his “shitty throws.” When the team does a good job, it is because the team does a good job.

A piece of my heart stayed in Boston.

Boston was my first home away from home, the first American city I fell in love with. And while I consider DC (and New Orleans) my American home(s), part of my heart still (and always will) belongs to Boston, to New England. We walk to work uphill in the snow, both ways. We are tough. We love adversity (weather and otherwise). We work hard. We don’t pretend to be who we are not. We have Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon.

The Universe knows.

Most of all, I wonder in awe about how it is that I ended up at the University of Phoenix stadium last night. The short answer is that I have an amazing husband who understands my crazy passion for the Patriots. The long answer is, well, longer. A few years ago, I wrote about all of the reasons I am thankful for football. A friend in Boston read it and forwarded it to his friend, Andrea Kremer. She opened that email and read it. And then emailed me. And we have developed a friendship around our football connection. It was thanks to this friendship that Super Bowl tickets materialized. I have had on my bucket list since January 2005 to see the Patriots win a Super Bowl with Brady as quarterback and Bellichick as coach, live. Ask the Universe, and the Universe will know and answer. And thank you, Edwin for helping the Universe along.