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What Saturday’s Belichick – O’Brien Showdown Taught Me About Winning

As Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien trudged across the field through a postgame swarm of players, coaches, photographers and security guards to congratulate Bill Belichick, who had just dealt him the most painful blow of his nascent head-coaching career—a soul-crushing 34-16 loss that jettisoned Houston from the playoffs, just two wins shy of a Super Bowl appearance—I couldn’t help but wonder two things.

First. Wow! I wouldn’t want to have walked in Bill O’Brien’s shoes last Saturday—even for a minute. As if coaching a high stakes NFL playoff game weren’t harrowing enough, he had to go up against his former boss—a man he spent years imitating and adulating, whose wildly successful career he can only hope to one day emulate. O’Brien must have been racking his brains, wondering—“What did I do to deserve this? I finally arrive on football’s biggest stage—in the most critical game of my coaching career—and I have to outwit the very man who has been my greatest source of inspiration. And who—it just so happens, is the most decorated coach in the NFL today. And among the best ever!”

What Nick Saban Taught Me About Greatness And It’s Worst Nemesis: Complacency

As I sat in my living room watching the final seconds tick away—and the Clemson Tigers posted a dramatic come-from behind victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide to claim the NCAA Division 1 College football championship—I got to thinking about my favorite topic: Greatness.

I’ve studied Greatness for more than 25 years—interviewed the world’s top athletes (Michael Jordan, Walter Payton and John Smoltz) and most acclaimed coaches (John Wooden, Tony Dungy and Joe Maddon). I can say, unabashedly, that I consider myself a bit of an authority on the subject.

Yet as I watched Clemson’s Dabo Swinney embrace Alabama coach Nick Saban at game’s end I felt like a giddy novice—an armchair amateur mesmerized by the unmitigated greatness of two men who had each commanded a crew of some one hundred young athletes to compete for college football’s loftiest summit.

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Some of the Winning Teams Don Yaeger works with


DELL
Chevron
Microsoft
Hewlett Packard
BROCADE