Team, Team, Team
This week, America’s favorite pastime (baseball) gave way to America’s passion (football). The reason I love football so much is how much of a team sport it is. In basketball, having a few good starters can push a team to victory. In football there are so many elements on every play, in every series, and in every game that requires teamwork. In the end, the team that usually wins is the team with the best teamwork not the best talent. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles if my assessment is correct. Last year they were called the Dream Team due to their talent but finished the season watching the playoffs on television.
My team, the San Francisco 49ers, started off their NFL season with a difficult task: playing the Green Bay Packers on the road at the legendary Lambeau field. I watched and read all the pre-game prognosticators. Every one of them predicted a Packer victory. The 49ers are good, they said, but not good enough to slow down the powerful Green Bay offense. How wrong they were! The 49ers won 30-22. The score was not as close as the game as the Niners dominated the game.
The 49ers didn’t win because of their talent. They won because of their teamwork. Coach Jim Harbaugh has a mantra he recites over and over: “Team, Team, Team.” He makes sure every player checks his ego at the door and preaches that every player has a vital part to play. Yesterday was a perfect example of his team philosophy. All 46 players who suited up, played. Here are several examples:
- Future Hall of Famer, Randy Moss. He came out of retirement to join the 49ers. He has a reputation of being a football diva. Yesterday, Randy only played 1/3 of the time. Instead of pouting for not playing more, he was seen high fiving his teammates and encouraging them up and down the sidelines. When he did play, he contributed and scored the first touchdown.
- Pro-Bowl running back, Frank Gore. He was told that his amount of carries per game would decrease this year to give more opportunities to other players. He rotated more yesterday than he is used to. No whining or complaining. He ran for 112 yards.
- Backup center, Daniel Kilgore. Back up centers never play unless the starter gets hurt. He came in as an extra lineman and blocked for Frank Gore as he ran for a 23 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter.
- All-Pro linebacker, Patrick Willis. This off season, Willis was ranked the #10 best player in the NFL. Yesterday, he sat out much of the game because the defensive game plan needed a faster player in his place. He did so without complaint.
How much better would our families, our churches, and our society be if this would happen outside the lines of a football field?