Posts Tagged ‘nfl’
Peyton Manning has earned his way into NFL history, playing for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons before making his way west to the Denver Broncos, where he had to learn a completely new playbook and offense.
The backstory: After undergoing extensive neck surgery in May 2011, he was forced to miss the entire 2011 season with the Colts and was released in March 2012, at which point he visited with and worked out with several NFL teams during a two-week period before settling on the Broncos.
Along the way, Manning developed his own personal playbook for cultivating leadership and effective decision making, the points of which he shared in the IBM Pulse 2013 day three general session.
The four-time MVP quarterback hit the stage running, explaining he’d just returned from a USO tour overseas where he’d been visiting the troops. He began by explaining that he “hope what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, because I don’t need the Ravens and Patriots to hear some of what I’m telling you today.”
Manning then segued into his key theme, the art and science of decision making and “how quality decision making leads to resilience.”
Manning explained to the gathered Pulse audience that “people make decisions every day,” but that there are those who “make good decisions habitually,” and acknowledging that “it’s easier to practice a skill when the heat is off and when there’s nothing important on the line.”
But unlike most people, Manning explained, “my decision making is instantly judged by 80,000 fans in the stadium and millions on Twitter” — and that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
In fact, Manning explained, “I savor being on the front line,” and that “you can’t wait for someone else to make or execute the plan — you have to be willing to take the risk, even when you have doubts.”
“If not you,” Manning queried, “ then who?”
The key, he went on to explain, is that you make key decisions without hestitation and no stutters, because “when you demonstrate 100% confidence, your team will follow.”
Manning acknowledged that he’s become known for “making audibles,” calling plays ad hoc once his team is lined up in reaction to “something I’ve noticed on the field.”
Manning claimed that his teammates have to trust those instant, snap decisions, and “that if they hear it in my voice that I believe in my decision, that they’ll believe in it, too. They’ll run better and they’ll block better.”
But to get to that level of confidence, Manning explained, it requires an enormous amount of preparation. Days of practice, of watching and analyzing game and practice film on his iPad, talking with his teammates.
“Usually there is no one right answer,” Manning conveyed, “but you can’t build decisions on hope. You need a strong and more stable foundation, and thorough preparation is absolutely essential.”
Every week, Manning said, “I gather every piece of relevant information about my opponent, and I study every tendency a defense has. I know exactly what coverage to expect and how to counter it.”
But once on the field, he simply “blots out both the spotlight and the noise and then just decides. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. I can eliminate options before the ball is even snapped. That allows me to take more calculated risks more confidently.”
Because at the end of the day…or perhaps more appropriately, at the end of the fourth quarter, “If you’re the boss or the quarterback, that’s what you’re paid to do.”
And even with all that preparation, Manning acknowledged, “it’s important to recognize that you can thoroughly prepare and still be hit by a thunderbolt.”
“Some decisions in life,” Manning explained “just aren’t yours to make.”
Manning explained his own decision making philosophy as “getting back to zero.”
“We have seconds to pick ourselves up off the field after we’ve been hit and immediately focus on what’s ahead. You can’t dwell on what just happened, because if you do, your head just won’t be in the game.”
Manning then channeled that great American writer, Ernest Hemingway: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”
After his injuries in 2011, Manning related that “I’ve learned to savior what resilience can do for people.” His first pass after his rehabilitation “went literally about ten feet,” and he explained “it’s hard for most people to understand the magnitude of changes and the elasticity needed” after such an ordeal.
He had to take his rehab slowly, that the healing had to “happen at its own pace. And no matter how painful it was, I had to accept that.”
Once he arrived in Denver, he explained, he also had “to get my team to trust that I could lead the Broncos. I was now one of them and I was going to put the work into making us a winner.”
Despite taking a brutal hit during a preseason game that year, he bounced up for more. “Resilience was the reward for more meticulous preparation and strategic decision making.”
Perhaps the Super Bowl should have blackouts more often.
I thought I was going to fall asleep near the end of the first half, though Beyonce and her friends most assuredly would have awakened me from my slumber at halftime.
I don’t think she lip-synched that performance, and neither, it seems, did Ravens quarterback and MVP Joe Flacco, who actually threw for less yardage than San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick, some 287 of them. But Flacco’s passes garnered a little bit more accuracy and a couple more touchdowns, so it will be he who rides with Mickey and Minnie in the parade at DisneyWorld this time around.
As for the SuperBowl of advertising, well, let’s just say it was a year filled with fair to middling entries, some strong, most anemic, several childish but sometimes fun.
With many of the ads, I got the feeling I was watching the Mike Judge SuperBowl Advertising Film Festival, with a little bit of Sundance throw in for good measure.
For my money — and in the end, that IS what advertising is all about, getting you to spend your money — the Ram truck ad featuring the still life images of farmers and ranchers, underlined by the voice of heartland radio commentator Paul Harvey, walked away with the gold.
Sure, the Tide “Miracle Stain” spot was funnier and more entertaining, and Anheuser-Busch’s “Budweiser Brotherhood” spot may have tickled your sentimental bone a little more, but the Ram spot really hit home. It associated the promises of the product with a broad sweep of American experience — more gut feel than emotion, with images from a remix of Ansel Adams and Norman Rockwell, but unapologetically so, backed by the plainspoken Harvey explaining why “God made a farmer.”
Of course, all those stories have very little lasting power when compared to Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet, the royal dynasty that endured to the end of the Late Middle Ages, and for whom Shakespeare had cry, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”
Turns out Richard could have used a shovel instead, as his remains were recently discovered underneath a parking lot in the English midlands city of Leicester.
What’s even more fascinating, DNA evidence linked with modern ancestors proves the genetic link.
It also turns out that Richard’s body did, in fact, have the historically anticipated hole in his head after all, having been struck by a medieval halberd (think pole ax), along with a scoliated spine.
According to The New York Time’s story, the University of Leicester plans to rebury Richard’s bones in the Leicester Anglican cathedral, and that the reburial will likely take place as part of a memorial service honoring Richard as an English king sometime early next year.
Not to worry about those Tower of London plots where he schemed to have his nephews killed way back when. That’s water under the bridge!
Wait a minute, you might be saying to yourself, how in the world did they find Richard beneath a parking lot in Leicester in the first place?
Ground penetrating radar, of course! This is a technology blog after all — why else would I be bringing up Shakespeare and King Richard!?
In any case, truth in this case is definitely stranger than fiction, and the fiction was pretty strange to start.
As for millions of American football fans around the world lamenting the end of the NFL season, King Richard via William Shakespeare anticipated our frustration in the opening soliloquy of his play Richard III and summed it up quite succinctly: ”Now is the winter of our discontent!”
“Dave drove a Ford.”
That’s all the ash-colored gentleman who survived the GM “Apocalypse” in last night’s SuperBowl advertising lineup had to say. And then Ford pounced, trying to convince GM to pull the ad from SuperBowl rotation, arguing it was misleading.
Finally, some SuperBowl advertising drama!
As promised, I was on a JetBlue plane flying back to Texas from California last night. The pilot joked before takeoff that he would get us up and off the ground as soon as possible, so we could get down to the business of watching the game, and then fate played a cruel joke as it took several longgg minutes for the DirecTV satellite to kick back in so we could join Al and Chris.
So, I missed a number of the early SuperBowl commercials, but being the faithful marketing pundit that I am, I went back and watched them all this morning.
I’ll give the overall year in SuperBowl advertising a “B-.” Better than past years, but still plenty of upside available based on the inventory I watched.
Without any question, the most impactful spot of the evening was the “Imported from Detroit” spot starring Clint Eastwood.
He had my attention from the moment I heard it was him, and the message was powerful, couldn’t have been in better context, and was the kind of economic and America cheerleading ad we could stand more of these days.
What was it trying to sell? Cars? American exceptionalism? Detroit? All of the above? Yes.
Beyond that, I try to think of those moments that were not only funny or interesting, but stuck with me and pulled their brand along with it. Remember, advertising’s supposed to sell!
So, here we go…
The moment the baby in the infirmary in the E-Trade ad responded, “Speed dating.”
Jerry Seinfeld trying to buy some poor schmuck’s Acura, a spot which also saw the return of the “Soup Nazi.”
The cute little rescue dog ad rescuing people from thirst by getting them a Bud Light, titled “Herewego.”
The nice, big dog from Doritos who blackmails its owner with a bag of chips so as not to spill the beans about the missing cat.
The speed racing bulldog Mr. Quigly, who outpaced all the greyhounds in a commercial for Sketchers (although I don’t remember the specific shoe!)
And then there was that really subtle, yet memorable, message from Telaflora.com about Valentine’s Day: “Give and you shall receive.”
But there’s little doubt, the night belonged to the automakers.
11 out of the 36 spots I counted were from car purveyors, not including the “Imported from Detroit” spot starring Eastwood.
Not all of them were funny, and certainly not every single one of them was memorable, but they were there, en masse, in the aggregate as a seemingly strong industry spending big money to pitch their latest wares.
That seemed to be a message in and of itself, a resurgent car market as leading indicator for an even more resurgent economy.
And as Clint Eastwood reminded us all, it’s only halftime in America.
The headline of this post hails from the signage outside the BBQ and drinking establishment just catty corner across the road from my domicile in Austin, Texas.
Billy’s Brewery said it all for this Sunday of National Football League Championship games: Beer, Beer, Football, Beer.
Although by the end of the day, I’m sure many fans would have evened things out a bit and wrote instead: “Football, Football, Beer, Shakespeare.”
It was that dramatic a day in the NFL.
Now, mind you, as reported in this blog a few weeks ago, my Dallas Cowgirls have long been out of it. But I’m not just a fan of one team, I’m a fan of the game. And as any fan of the game must do, they must carry on and watch the professionals do what they do.
And boy did they do it yesterday.
I’ve not seen that dramatic a back-to-back series of NFL Championship games since I was probably a toddler, and I don’t really remember those.
So let’s start with the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. And let’s begin with the end, the missed 32 yard field goal by Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff. What should have been an easy chip shot to tie the game 23-23 and send both teams into OT, curved left like a bad Todd Watson hooked drive and veered well left of the uprights.
As I joked on Twitter, I’d love to listen to some local Baltimore sports radio talk this morning, as it just had to be brutal. Cundiff would be well served to not show his face around town, at least for a few months.
That dumb luck aside, the Ravens should have won the game. The Pats were hardly at their best, and it was their defense that saved them. Tom Brady, their celebrated QB, was inconsistent, laser-like on some passes, sloppy on others. He threw no TDs and two interceptions, and just looking at the data, earned a season-low 57.5 passer rating.
Surely he’ll have to do better in the Super Bowl.
I will give Tom Brady this: When it was time to dive into the endzone for the Pats to go up from 16-20 to 23-20, Brady literally dove right in, head first. Hard core leap for the TD, Brady. Maybe you deserve that Brazilian supermodel after all.
Now, flash West out to Candlestick Park, where relentless rain left a sloppy field for the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers, just the way I like my NFC Championships.
My money was on the Giants from the get go, but I knew not to count the 49ers out, especially with young, hungry quarterback Alex Smith, who struck first on a 73-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with just 7:11 left in the first quarter.
The 49ers went on to stop a Giants first down, earning great field position before running a silly, accident-waiting-to-happen-in-the-rain reverse, the fumble from which Kyle Williams was able to recover.
By halftime, the Giants had eaked out a 10-7 lead, but this was still anybody’s ballgame.
In the third quarter, Vernon Davis struck again, this time in a 28-yard TD catch that put the 49ers up 14-10. The ghost of King Lear could be heard howling from the underbelly of Candlestick Park, the rain and wind screaming as the plot thickened.
In the fourth quarter, Eli Manning threw a deep pass to Mario Manningham for another TD, but not three minutes later San Francisco responded with an Akers 25 yard field goal.
And then the heavens truly opened up the Greek chorus appeared as the game went into overtime. The Giants’ Steve Weatherford punted downfield, and 49er Kyle Williams’ knee brushed the ball, and the Giants recovered the “fumble.” After the official review, it was the Giants’ opportunity to seize the moment.
And kicker Lawrence Tynes didn’t disappoint. Once again, just as he did with Green Bay four years ago, he planted a 31-yarder between the uprights and, once again, the Giants will be facing the Patriots in a SuperBowl.
One can only hope that William Shakespeare continues to look down from the heavens in that rematch from four years ago.
Did you hear the on about the IBM computer that played the game show “Jeopardy” and beat two former world champion human “Jeopardy” players?
If not, you missed the outcome from yesterday’s practice round, where Watson won a practice round $4,400 to Ken Jennings $3,400 and Brad Rutter’s $1,200.
This was just a precursor to the final rounds airing on February 14-16, but after watching some video footage of the action yesterday, it was eerily reminiscent of those chess matches in 1997 that shall go unnamed. Only this time, I think the computer is actually starting to think. And sdpeak.
Me, I’m not going anywhere near it. I’ve already got enough machines beating up on me in my life: my iPad, my iPhone 4, my new AT&T U-Verse umbilical cord to the world.
But I would lie if I were to say I weren’t anxious to see the final results of the Watson/Jeopardy mano a mano competition. Latest odds from our Watson/Jeopardy poll give Watson the edge at 52%, with Ken Jennings at 40% and Brad Rutter at 7% (NOT a scientific poll, by any means…just a polling pulse of the crowd via our Web site.)
Which, by the way, I would strongly encourage you to visit and spend some time with before the official matches air in February. My colleagues have been busting their humps to produce some great video content explaining this story in a way we mere mortals can understand, and beyond all the hyperbole, explaining the potential ramifications of this breakthrough in artificial intelligence.
Me, I’m finishing my week off here in a frigid NYC, meeting with colleagues and thinking about gridiron action this weekend. I’m gonna go out on a limb and pick the following: Pittsburgh over Baltimore, New England over the Jets, Chicago over Seattle, and Green Bay over Atlanta.
That’s not necessarily all of which I want to happen. I’m just picking what I think might happen. Then again, I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan – do keep that in mind.
Before I flee the wintry cold of the northeast, let me also remind you of the forthcoming Lotusphere 2011 event in sunny Orlando, Florida. I’ll be jetting that way in a couple of weeks to blog and podvodcast from there with mi developerWorks amigo, Scott Laningham.
Note that this year we’re also seeing the introduction of the Lotusphere Social Business Summit, where C-level execs and other senior leaders from sales, marketing, operations, and other non-IT related functions can come together and learn how social business practices can help boost their bottom lines. And if last fall’s IBM Industry Summit in Barcelona was any indication, those attending are going to be in for a real treat.
You can learn more about the Social Business Summit here.
P.S. Tweet @turbotodd and let me know the origination of today’s headline!
If you read this blog with any regularity (or even if you don’t), you know that I’m a pretty rabid sports fan.
As in, a lot of sports.
I play golf these days; am still a mountain biker when I’m not on an airplane; played basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and golf in high school (and ran cross country); and I still wish I could have been George Plimpton (I did meet him once at a bar in NY…really nice guy) so I could live out my Walter Mitty sports fantasy.
I read Michael Lewis’ Moneyball with great fascination, learning about the Oakland A’s using player performance stats to build a competitive baseball franchise in a smaller market than the Yanks or the Red Sox.
Of course, the blending of data analytics and virtual sports didn’t end with baseball.
NFL players are now using their experiences playing Electronic Arts’ Madden football franchise to learn new moves off the field via their big screen TVs, only to implement them later on the field.
And a survey conducted by the University of Oregon of more than 15,000 NFL fans found that those who play Madden’s virtual football regularly were found to have a 60% higher football IQ than the average football fan.
In light of the coming SuperBowl championship between the New Orleans “Who Dat” Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, Scott Laningham and I thought we’d get into the spirit of the season and pursue the intersection of sports and data analytics in a podcast interview with an old friend of mine, Gibby McCaleb, chief operating officer of sports forecasting firm, AccuScore.
AccuScore feeds sports predictions to the likes of Yahoo, ESPN, CBS Sports, and others, and though we’re both fans of the Dallas Cowboys (along with Scott), we put our disappointment and biases aside long enough to talk about AccuScore’s prediction model and the opportunities and challenges presented by sports forecasting.
This was a fun one, and Gibby even gave us a sneak preview into AccuScore’s call on this year’s big game!
My Dallas Cowboys looked pretty shaky there in Kansas City yesterday. All I can say is God Bless the emergence of Miles Austin!
I had to watch the game on my Time Warner DVR in fast forward mode, because I was too firmly ensconced in my viewing of the President’s Cup to watch the game live (just so you know how my sports priorities ranked yesterday).
When I did finally turn on the Cowboys/Chiefs game, I thought I’d gone into another universe when I saw the Chief’s “Dallas Texans” uniform.
I was a very wee lad when the Dallas Texans were sold off and the team moved to Kansas City in 1962 to become the Kansas City Chiefs (and the very same year the Dallas Cowboys franchise was started), something I had to go hunt down and learn via Wikipedia.
You learn something new every day!
On the topic of football, earlier today IBM announced a renewed marketing and services partnership with the NFL.
IBM has been a sponsor since 2003, and with this new agreement, IBM will continue to provide consulting expertise and IT solutions to the NFL to help them more efficiently manage their IT infrastructure and data storage.
The NFL is working to improve upon its current data center, and so IBM will help to reduce costs and energy consumption as it helps the NFL increase their power and cooling capacity.
Specifically, the first phase of this new agreement will include an initiative to shift the NFL’s IT Shared Services environment to a dynamic infrastructure by delivering a number of operational improvements.
IBM will provide design and construction services for an upgraded data center facility located in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, the services for which will allow the NFL to improve scalability and capacity while reducing their daily operating costs and improving their overall energy efficiency.
“With IBM’s help, our IT infrastructure can become more energy efficient, cost effective and adaptive with how we manage our IT services and data,” said Nancy Galietti, Vice President of Information Technology from the NFL. “IBM understands our needs from a business and IT perspective and we look forward to working together on this journey to deliver a dynamic infrastructure.”
As part of the initiative, the upgraded data center facility will create efficiencies and allow the NFL to take advantage of newer, faster and less expensive technologies. The upgraded facility will:
- Improve resiliency by minimizing single points of failure
- Add the capability to install high density computing and offer more computing power in less space.
IBM Vice President, Client Executive Marketing, Rick Singer said of the agreement, “The NFL is a great partner, and we believe that this initiative will enable their business growth. Our goal is to provide the NFL with opportunities to offer premium services to its business divisions and clients.”
In addition, IBM will deliver a plan to optimize the NFL’s storage environment that can reduce the overall cost of storage hardware through virtualized storage provisioning.
Are you ready for some football?