Thanksgiving and Football

And an Interesting Leadership Example


My thoughts today run from family to football and back again. I hope that you are having a great day today and that it is filled with family, food, and fellowship.

Thanksgiving has been known for many traditions. Not the least of which, unfortunately, may be that there is football on Thanksgiving. The Dallas Cowboys have played on Thanksgiving Day since 1966 and that my friend is a tradition.

I grew up and became a Steelers fan in my teen years. They were awesome in the 1970s. I tried to be a Patriots fan in the early 80s. I was a Falcons fan during our time in Atlanta. And when we moved to the DC area, I became a Redskins fan. Those Dallas Cowboys weren’t bad either. Even the most ardent Redskin fan would have to admit that. But one of the best thing to be said of the Cowboys for about 29 years in a row was their coach – Tom Landry.

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do to achieve what they want to achieve. – Tom Landry

There have been some amazing coaches in pro football, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Don Shula, Chuck Knoll, Joe Gibbs, and Tony Dungy are only a few of the great coaches that have walked the chalk on the sidelines on cold Sunday afternoons. But, beyond their ability to motivate and draw up the Xs and Os, consider for a moment one of the key tasks of the football coach as the leader of the team. He must get his guys to do that which is tough and tiring in order to achieve the thing that they all really want – winning the Super Bowl. Each of these coaches achieved that ultimate goal. They got to the Super Bowl. And they won the Super Bowl. (Although it wasn’t called that when Lombardi was coaching the Packers.)

What is the point on this Thanksgiving Day?

The point is today is to continue to see the theme and the thread from some of my recent articles — Leaders building more leaders. I am speaking to you fathers this day. And I want to remind you that it is our job as fathers to get our families to do those things that they sometimes don’t want to do (because they aren’t always fun) in order for the family to succeed and set the example for new families and to create more winning traditions.

So, let’s quote Ralph Nader again to remind us. Nader (who to the best of my knowledge doesn’t know anything about football, went on to say, “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” Inadequate leaders just create followers. But truly great leaders produce more leaders.

And the point for you fathers today is to remind you that the hallmark of a great father is to produce great children, who then become great parents, who then produce great children.

Oh, and how ’bout them Cowboys?

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.