It was the third play of the 2nd half of Super Bowl LI. Down 21-3 halfway through the biggest game of the year, the Patriots held off the Falcons’ initial drive, only to have Julius Edelman drop a ball on 3rd and 12 to quickly end a drive of their own to start the second half. Atlanta proceeded to move the ball down the field on its subsequent possession, scoring a touchdown to put their team up 28-3 with 8:31 to go in the 3rd quarter. Most NFL teams would’ve had a hard time keeping it together after halftime or after Edelman’s drop. Anyone else would’ve called it quits after falling behind by another touchdown. Anyone but the Patriots….
The rest of that game has gone into the annuls of Super Bowl history as the most memorable comeback ever. Why? Because the Patriots never gave up. They had their own way of doing things – the Patriot Way – and they stuck to it even when the chips were down. Even after they scored a touchdown, they missed the extra point. Demoralizing, right? Yet, they kept going. They stuck to the plan. They didn’t flinch; they didn’t falter. In the end, they tied the game and took it to overtime, and won.
A year later, in the BCS Championship Game, Alabama found itself down 13-0 to Georgia at halftime. Alabama head coach Nick Saban took the unprecedented approach of replacing his starting quarterback with a freshman quarterback to begin the second half. Coach Saban stuck with his decision, despite a quick three and out to start the second half, and an interception by the young gunslinger after Georgia brought the lead back out to 20-7. Bama went on to win the game 26-23 in overtime with 166 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns behind the freshman QB. No matter what the obstacle, they never gave up.
Fantasy football is not real football, we all get that. But it is a game of competition nonetheless. As are certain aspects of life. What was it that gave these two teams the wherewithal to pull off these comebacks under these dire circumstances? Was it persistence? Not in and of itself. Persistence without skill and understanding will not get you very far. These two teams managed to hang in there because they both possessed the fundamental talent and know-how to get the job done. In the end, this type of underlying skill and understanding is required in order to make any kind of persistence relevant under such trying circumstances.
So what does that mean to you as a fantasy owner? First of all, it means you need to get your shit together. Luck and fortune will only take you so far. If you’re going to see your way through the unforeseen challenges that come your way, you’re going to need to study up on your game and get it to the next level. The second thing it means is that, when you are faced with obstacles, you have to know when to stick to “the Patriot Way” and when to “make a change at quarterback.” This comes from the wisdom you gain by playing the game every week and analyzing your decisions honestly – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Without this experienced-based wisdom, you will know nothing about which way to turn as a crisis unfolds. Finally, you have to have the mettle to see it all the way through. If you are one of those who gives up on the season at 0-3 or 0-4, you don’t stand a chance. Just because things look bad, doesn’t make it bad. In fantasy and in real life, persistence comes from within long-before the actual challenge arises. If you don’t have it yet, go find it.
Tough times come, whether you like it or not. You cannot anticipate everything that’s going to happen in the upcoming season or life. But if you have the fundamentals down and if you have gained wisdom from your previous experiences, your ultimate success may only depend on how persistent you manage to become. If you have what it takes, no matter what the circumstances, don’t ever give up. You may not always win, but you will give yourself as good a shot as any as accomplishing the goal you first set out to achieve. Never give up.