When millions of Americans tune into Super Bowl LV on Sunday, February 7, there will be records waiting to be broken. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the first team to play at home in Super Bowl history, there will be a lot riding on the success of legendary quarterback Tom Brady. The Kansas City Chiefs will be relying on their quarterback Patrick Mahomes to lead them to their second consecutive Super Bowl victory.
Fresh off a Super Bowl championship, Mahomes looks to break the record for the youngest quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls. Recently, Mahomes became the fastest quarterback to throw 90 touchdowns in NFL history when the Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills. Brady, on the other hand, who holds the most Super Bowl starts in history, will seek his seventh victory.
Their achievements didn’t happen overnight. Both quarterbacks were backups during their rookie seasons, but each has gone on to break a number of NFL records.
Here are three leadership lessons we can learn from these two iconic quarterbacks.
1. Take advantage of every opportunity
Mahomes will never forget the words Brady said to him when the Chiefs lost to the Patriots in the 2019 AFC Championship game. “The biggest thing he said was, ‘Stay with the process and be who you are.’ He didn’t want me to change at all. He wanted me to go out there and take advantage of every single day. When you hear it from a guy like that, who’s had the success at the level that he’s had for his entire career, you know you’ve got to take advantage of every single day if you want to be great.”
Brady and Mahomes took advantage of every game they played – proving their skills off and on the field.
Although drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000, Brady didn’t make his mark until he came on the field for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001.
Brady secured his spot on the team when he led the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl championship in 2002.
As a rookie in 2017, Mahomes only played one game at the end of the Chiefs’ season. However, Mahomes made a difference behind the scenes during practices, leaving an impression on his coaches and teammates.
In the offseason of 2018, the Chiefs traded quarterback Alex Smith, handing Mahomes the starting position.
Successful leaders make the most of every opportunity they are given. Even if they don’t succeed at first, they keep pushing toward their goals. It takes determination and humility to push past failures and learn from them for the future.
2. Stay focused on the future
Brady is known for staying focused on the next Super Bowl. During a Super Bowl hype video released in 2015, Brady said, “I had an equipment manager in college. He had been at Michigan for 25 years or something. He's got so many Big Ten rings, I mean, he doesn't have enough fingers for all the rings he's got. He said, 'You know, Tom. You know what my favorite ring is?' And I said, 'Which one's that?' He goes, 'The next one.' And now that's what I think. The next one.”
Brady hasn’t let his age interfere with his goals – even becoming the oldest quarterback at 41 to win a Super Bowl.
The moment leaders stop setting goals and learning, they disrupt the potential of their leadership abilities.
If Brady didn’t keep focused on the future, he would not hold the record for the most Super Bowl wins by a quarterback.
Leaders should always be setting new goals and hold themselves accountable for following through. There has to be a desire to continue to reach for success.
3. Trust your team. When asked by ESPN if there is a highlight he goes back to in order to stay positive, Mahomes said, “I never really watch anything that helps me get a confidence boost...I pretty much just keep it moving and keep it rolling. I feel like even if something goes wrong, I have confidence in myself and my team that we'll fix it. Our team thing is, Let's Roll. Whatever happens, I'll bounce back.”
Trust is the defining strength of any team. It’s what keeps a team moving forward together. When a leader trusts their teammates, they begin to root for the success of their team.
Successful leaders learn how to activate the genius in others. They lead their teams to success by helping others discover their potential.
The clash between Brady and Mahomes during the Super Bowl could prove to be one of the greatest matchups in the history of football. Although all eyes will be on the score, we can’t forget to focus on the leadership lessons these individuals have taught us throughout their careers.
Win or lose, both quarterbacks have proven they deserve to lead their teams to a Super Bowl victory.
Dr. Kent Ingle is the president of Southeastern University. He is the author of several leadership books and host of the "Frameworks Leadership" podcast.