Being born and raised in Indianapolis, in, we are die-hard Indianapolis Colts fans. When the Colts secured their spot in the AFC championship game against the New England Patriots in Foxboro, MA, we made an impulse decision to buy tickets to watch what we hoped would be an AFC Championship victory in person (having never gone to an NFL away game, let alone an AFC Championship).
After two solid victories in the wild card and divisional playoff rounds, playing our best football of the year, and the experience of losing to the Patriots in Foxboro last year, we felt confident that the Colts would at the very least give the Patriots a competitive game. We could not have been more wrong… and there was an extremely important lesson to be learned from this horrible loss for anything you do, whether that’s school, sports, music, business, etc.
Preparation is one of the most important characteristics of becoming 220. It’s easy to “turn it on” when the game (presentation, performance) starts because of the adrenaline, but someone more prepared will beat you 99%+ of the time. And from our cold, soaking wet seats in the upper deck, it was obvious that the Patriots were much more prepared to play and win the AFC Championship, which is a signature of Bill Belichick’s teams (Patriots head coach).
How could they be more prepared? I don’t think the Patriots put in anymore prep time than the we (the Colts) did- they each had one week between games to get ready. But the Patriots had to have taken advantage more of the prep time because they were much better mentally prepared. We were not ready to grind out a game in the cold rain. We were not ready to match their intensity. We were not ready to catch the first punt in those conditions. We were not ready to tackle LeGarrette Blount (running back). We were not ready to catch all of our passes. The Patriots were ready and because they were ready, they had a mental edge. And the score and feel of the game confirmed that.
I do believe that the Patriots are a better team overall than the Colts, but in the playoffs, all you have to do is play better for one game. I do not believe the Patriots are 38 points better than we are (7-45 loss). As a die-hard Colts fan for life, I believe that the fact of the matter is the Patriots were more prepared to win.
So what is the takeaway? As legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight once said, “The key is not the will to win... everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” Those who prepare and practice harder will stand out and succeed. Being 220 means having the will to prepare to win. So think about your next test, project, presentation, performance, game, you name it. How will you improve your preparation this time around to make this next performance 220? It takes vision, discipline, hard work, and a hunger for success. Are you willing to prepare to win?