What’s the Best Part of January?

…the NFL Playoffs of course! January is often met with early signs of winter blues; Christmas and New Year’s has passed and for us northerners the novelty and beauty of snow has given way to the dirt-laden slush and cold temperatures we have to tolerate until spring. One of the best escapes for me is enjoying the NFL’s Playoff games in front of the big screen; from January 7 until February 5 you’d be hard-pressed to find me elsewhere on a Sunday afternoon. The Playoffs get me thinking of the similarities between a great football team and its players and a great business owner and their organization. Like the football player a business owner tends to be a rugged individualist; at least that’s how it starts. They have a personal vision in mind, stronger than they can explain sometimes, and they push themselves to great heights because of it. But that same business owner knows, like the football coach and his players that without a strong team-first mindset they can only get so far. A successful football play requires every teammate to work as a cohesive group while being directed by a strong leader; each player must be at the right place at the right time while doing the right things to achieve a positive result. As coach Bill Belichick likes to say, “just do your job!”, and he should know having been named AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007 and 2010 seasons leading the Patriots to four Super Bowl appearances: victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX and a loss in Super Bowl XLII. These are all things we associate with a strong entrepreneur and a strong Quarterback; the result is a strong team. One of my all time favorite QB’s, the four-time Super Bowl champion and two-time MVP Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers, had to work with his teammates to attain his accolades and achieve the level of success that he did. Any successful business owner worth his salt must also look to his or her team to reach their enterprise’s full potential. The games played this past weekend yet again provided an example of the level of preparation required – both mental and physical – as the 49ers and the Saints exchanged play for play, and in my opinion, gave us the best game of the weekend taking it right down to the wire with the 49ers winning 36-33. The Ravens and the Texans put on a spirited show in Baltimore with former coming away with the victory, 20-13. Brady’s Patriots were focused and dominating with no big surprises, shutting down the Bronco’s 45-10. No divine intervention for Tebow this time round. And the biggest upset was the Jets over the Packers 37-20. Rodgers just couldn’t find his rhythm and the team as a whole just seemed out of sync despite the fact that they finished the season 15-1 and where the favorite. I’ll be happy to watch which NFL teams make it to Super Bowl XLVI, and without a doubt the two teams that will inevitably square off on February 5 will have a powerful Coach who understands his team, a powerful Quarterback who knows how to execute with impeccable timing and the knowledge that success can only be achieved if the individual player understands the worth of his teammates. And I suspect that the players will also know that a big part of winning is showing up ready to play, making sure you are in the right place at the right time and executing on every play! My guess: Jets and Patriots. But in the end on any given Sunday it all comes down to being prepared and of course a little luck doesn’t hurt. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS | The Ontarian, Writer, Editor

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