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Life Lessons from the NFL Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Sat, Dec 17, 2005, 10:25 PM

There are times when sports can teach us a lot about life. Nowadays it seems like the world of sports gives us plenty of opportunity to learn how not to act. But, sometimes we can all learn lessons from the world of sports.

In the real world we all know that life isn’t always fair. Well, it’s the same in the NFL. As a matter of fact, sometimes life in the NFL is the antithesis of fair.

But, in the NFL there is no room for complaining. In the NFL there is no room for excuses. In the NFL, when you are dealt a bad hand, you simply deal with it.

In the NFL teams are dealt bad hands every week. Sometimes it’s a bad call by an official. Sometimes it’s an injury to a star player. Sometimes it’s bad scheduling by the league. With all that can go wrong in the NFL, it is amazing that we don’t hear more complaints.

Sure we will hear fans (and talkshow hosts) complain about bad calls. We’ll hear fans make excuses for their teams. And sometimes on rare occasions we’ll hear a player or coach complain. But when you stop and consider all that could go wrong (and does go wrong) in an NFL season, there is really very little post-game complaining in public

And when a coach or player does voice a complaint, it is usually followed by “…but that didn’t cost us the game.”

To survive long in the NFL you must learn to deal with problems as they arise. If you dwell on bad calls or make excuses, you do not win. If you look at bad calls as obstacles you must overcome, you will have an easier time dealing with them.

It’s the same in life. Maybe you are being treated unfairly at work. Maybe your boss didn’t give you the promotion that you deserved. When you get dealt a bad hand how do you handle the situation? Do you complain? Do you dwell on your misfortune? Or, do you deal with it as an obstacle and move on?

As the Cowboys enter the final 3 weeks of the season, they find themselves one game behind the New York Giants. One game means a lot in today’s NFL.  Sometimes it means the difference between the post season and the off season.. One game can be the difference between getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs or having to play an extra game.

The New York Giants played their final home game of the regular season today…It was actually the 9th game they played in the friendly confines of Giants Stadium. Remember back in week 2, the Giants were supposed to travel to New Orleans to play the Saints.

The NFL had very little time to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Most of the City of New Orleans was still underwater. The Superdome is still about a year away from being able to host any events. The NFL executives had to make a decision on how to handle the Saints first home game and they had to make it quickly. They decided to play the game in New York.

It would have been very easy for the Cowboys or any team in the NFC to complain about the Giants getting an extra home game. And to be honest, some of the teams did quietly complain at the time. It was a legitimate complaint. But once the decision was made. Every team in the NFC had to move on and do everything in their power to lessen the advantage that was given to the Giants.

It is very likely that the Cowboys will finish this season one game behind the New York Giants. That one game could mean that the Cowboys do not make the playoffs. If that happens, I am sure that a lot of Cowboy fans will want to point to Week 2 and the Giants extra home game. And, in all reality they will have a point. An extra home game is huge.

But, I can be fairly certain that we will not hear any complaining from Valley Ranch. The players in the locker room may point to a lot of reasons that they did not finish ahead of the Giants but we will not hear any excuses.

Why won’t we hear anyone from the Cowboys cry about the unfair advantage the league gave the Giants? The answer is simple: In the NFL you don’t dwell on the bad you deal with it and move on.

That’s a lesson we all need to learn every once in awhile.
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