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The Blackout and the Non-Call

The cries of the aggrieved always seem to drown out the echoes of the final whistle. Had the 49ers won, Baltimore fans would have demanded a thorough investigation into the cause of the blackout. As it stands, the refusal of the refs to call holding on the 49ers’ final play has sent a shockwave of outrage eastward from the normally laid back city of San Francisco.

Superbowl blackoutThat’s just the way it always seems to be.

Monday morning, in the wake of a weekend dominated by warring factions of purple and red, the color I find myself contemplating again and again is green. Green as in The Masters. Green as in a quote variously attributed to famed golfers from Arnold Palmer to Tiger Woods:

“Whenever I hear someone complaining about the course, I know he’s going to lose.”

You know the complaints:

  • The refs favored the other team
  • We would have won if it weren’t raining
  • The teacher doesn’t like me
  • The judge was biased
  • The bidding process was rigged
  • They don’t like <fill in the blank> (meaning “people like me.”)

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in business too long to think that the cards sometimes aren’t stacked against someone. But that’s hardly the point. The point is that the moment you absolve yourself of responsibility is the same moment you forfeit your opportunity to improve…to learn…to get better.

One of my biggest pet peeves is listening to someone who lost say: “I wouldn’t have done everything differently.” I would never want to do business with that kind of person. If things went against you, and you do not want to replicate that result, there is invariably something you would do differently…if you just take the time to think about it.

The 49ers lost. Could a called holding play on 4th and Goal have turned the game in their favor?  Maybe. But so could 10 other things completely within their control that they could have done better. Could the Ravens have prevented the power outage or ended it sooner? No. But they could have taken responsibility for ending the shift of momentum in favor of their opponent.

Which is what they did.

Which is what made them champions.