“Gentlemen, This Is A Football”

Let’s take a peek as last year’s Super Bowl Champions report to training camp for the rigors of preparing to achieve their goal as repeat champions of the NFL. They are greeted by their coach proudly stating, “Gentleman, this is a football”. The basics always work. The basics work in all areas of undertaking.

The football team, as a group, has established their definition of success – repeating as Super Bowl Champions. They have established success-supportive goals to score more points than their opponent, to field a great defense and to maintain superb physical fitness. They’ve written out their achievement plans via their individual game plans and made the collective commitment to achieve. They are now ready to ‘hit the field’ and execute their plans.

It’s incredible how we non-football types can become so consumed with the events of the day that we allow ourselves to believe that there is some magical wand or short-cut that will simply transport us to the success we dream of?

“All work is as seed is sown; it grows and spreads, and sows itself anew.” – Thomas Carlyle.

New sunrises of opportunity present themselves daily, and what do most folks do? Instead of evaluating how the new opportunity may fit into their definition of success (game plan), they begin haphazardly looking for shortcuts and performing nonessential actions without any serious effort toward planning the steps that will steer them to their success.

Shortcuts divert attention from the important activities necessary to underwrite the consistency and completeness of your efforts.

If you have defined what success is to be in your life (your yearly Super Bowl Championship), you must set the specific goals that support your pre-established success strategy. Then you must develop and write out your ‘game’ plan. Remember, you can NOT “do” a goal, but you CAN “do” the planned actions that will achieve your goal.

Each of your daily opportunities should be evaluated in terms of its importance and weighted as to how it will or won’t fit into your definition of success. If it does, great! If not, disregard it. If you begin working on an opportunity that does not support your game plan, you could be, subconsciously, in conflict with yourself and therefore achieve nothing. If an opportunity at hand appears that it may satisfy some aspect of your financial desires, yet it conflicts with your career, family, social, physical, mental, or spiritual goals, do you really win? Conflict! Who needs it?

Just like football training camp, writing and developing your game plan can be difficult, time consuming and at times frustrating You may even consider throwing in the towel and continue to merely ‘window-shop’ and fantasize about the tantalizing, new opportunities that are brought forth with each sunrise. However, a well-thought out plan, frequently adjusted to meet exciting and new opportunities that appear daily cannot be beat.

“You have to steer your own course. You have to do your own thinking. You must make your own decisions. You have to solve your own problems. Your character is your own handiwork. You have to write your own record. You have to build your own monument – or dig your own pit.” B. C. Forbes

Take the time now, and it does take time, thought and effort to develop and write your own game plan. Don’t just think it or fantasize about it – write it! Then, establish the goals that support your plan and develop the action steps to achieve those goals. Finally, make the personal commitment so critical to any real achievement and EXECUTE!

Football Betting Trends

Will the football betting trends for the Super Bowl Participants revert back to the norm or are we looking at a new trend? Until last year, the past 10 years the winners of the Super Bowl are a combined 58-79 ATS for a lousy 42% win ratio following their Super Bowl victory. While the losers of the Super Bowl are even worse the following year at 64-94 for a 41% win ratio. Combined, that is a record of 122-173 ATS for a low 41% win ratio. I mentioned all these figures last year in the Super Bowl Football Betting Trend article.

New England and Carolina broke the football betting trend last year by combining for a 68% winning percentage Against The Spread (ATS). New England was 13-4-2 (76%) and Carolina was 9-6-1 (60%).

A winning ATS record the following season for a Super Bowl Participant had only happened 4 times out of 20 chances the past ten years. (2 teams times 10 years = 20 chances) The Pittsburgh Steelers went 10-7 for a 58% win ratio after losing to the Dallas Cowboys back in Super Bowl XXX. Denver had a winning record ATS twice, 12-7 (63%) following their victory against Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII and after their victory against Atlanta in Super Bowl XXXIII they went 9-5 (64%) the next year. Baltimore barely finished over 50% at 9-8 (53%) after beating the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. Carolina and New England increased the total to six with their sterling records last year.

So does the football betting trend that has dominated the NFL make a comeback or do Philadelphia and New England continue the success from last year for the previous Super Bowl participants? I think the success from last year will continue this year not because I am superstitious but I think the lines may favor the Eagles and the Patriots.

The Eagles will have the harder time continuing the football betting trend and getting the lines a bettor wants (when looking to bet the Eagles) but I think they will continue to get better and dominate like last year and cover most of the big point spreads that come their way. They finished 12-7 ATS last year and were 6-4 ATS when laying over a touchdown. But if the Owens situation becomes a problem the lines will favor the Eagle bettors and I think McNabb would cherish the opportunity to perform at a high level without TO.

The Patriots bettors should receive favorable lines because they lost both coordinators. You should be able to jump on the Patriots at a great price and make some money early. People will be looking for them to fall back but I would not bet against Belichick if I were you. The man can coach and he will actually use this to his advantage and have his players ready to prove everyone wrong. Motivation will not be a problem. If they stumble the first 4 weeks, bettors will make a killing jumping on them or staying with them because the lines will change even more.

Physics, Zen and Football

Why do I find watching football on TV so relaxing? (That’s soccer, by the way, America.)
It’s a nice brain in neutral activity, much like cartoons, but I think there’s a little more to it.

I suspect it’s got something to do with the physics of motion – the curve of the ball as it rises and falls in perfect curves and parabolas, the pauses as we wait for it to fall back to earth, all controlled by the physical laws at the foundations of our existence.

It’s very zen, meditative, everything in suspense, a moment of aporia as the ball falls to earth, at which point proceedings will resume and meaning re-engaged. And of course this takes place in the context of a game, itself an extended moment of suspense until the result is known.

And on TV, three dimensions are flattened into two, which also has an effect – abstracting the curves in some way, making the whole experience a little more unreal, dreamlike. The flattening also means the ball often seems to travel more slowly – it travels through three dimensions, but we see only two, enahancing the dreamlike quality of the experience.

Anyway, whatever the reasons, I find it very relaxing.

Of course these days it’s much more relaxing being a Chelsea supporter than ever before. We rarely lose or concede. Especially compared to the nervy games of previous years (i.e. before Jose Mourihno).

A beginner’s guide to football in Spain

Football in Spain, much as it is in England, is undoubtedly the national game with a passion for the sport that can only be matched in a handful of countries around the world. Spain’s La Liga (Spain’s premier football league for those not in the know) is regarded in many circles as the best in Europe and the international team have been tipped to bring home some silverware from a major tournament for a long time (I might add they’ve yet to oblige the nation).

Taking all of this into account football is clearly tied in heavily with Spain’s cultural fabric. To watch a game and to gauge the day to day news and debate is to sample something of Spain and its people firsthand. There aren’t many social areas which football doesn’t permeate; whether it’s digesting the sports pages in a café, catching a game in a bar or kids in the streets and playgrounds emulating the feats of their heroes.

The two most famous clubs are Barcelona and Real Madrid, the latter having been regarded as the best team in the world for the last few years. With squads reading like a who’s who of international football the clubs boast some of the best players from around the globe. Football in Spain is a big deal and the stadia, which constitute major tourist sites in both cities, certainly reflect this passion; the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona has a capacity of 100,000 whilst the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid boasts a capacity of close to 90,000 and both are amongst the largest in the world. Visitors to the cities should certainly consider as tour of the stadiums for a chance to see just how big they are. Both also offer excellent museums offering insight into the two clubs glittering histories and also a chance to see the changing rooms – where most Spanish schoolboys dream of sitting one day.

As you could imagine, the rivalry between Barcelona and Real is massive and when they play the match is simply known in Spain as “El Derby”, it is the biggest sporting fixture in the Spanish calendar and is quite possibly the most fiercely contested (and supported) domestic match in all of football. There’s even more to play for this season as Barcelona ended Madrid’s dominance by claiming La Liga (Spain’s premier football league for those not in the know) for the first time since 1999. Madrid will be looking for revenge this season and have brought in some exciting new players to try and reignite their title challenge.

One excellent indicator of how big football is in Spain (and particularly at these two clubs), is just how much pressure is heaped on players and managers alike by supporters and the media when results don’t go their way. Club boards can be exceedingly fickle and the way in which club presidents are actually elected by the season ticket holders, gives the fans a lot more power as those running the club have, to some extent, to respond to their demands and whims to keep their popularity. For these reasons La Liga is probably the toughest European league to manage in and most clubs have an alarmingly high turnover of head coaches. It’s certainly a cut-throat business and an area in which the Spaniards are partisan, extremely passionate and always have an opinion.
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