Super Bowl LII: The perfect storm of leadership and teamwork



Greg Button

President, Global Healthcare Services

Korn Ferry

March 1, 2018

It's Saturday morning before Super Bowl LII and as my 18-year-old son walks down our staircase into the kitchen, something immediately hits me. We have been Eagles' fans since he was born, how could we miss the grand finale of this amazing team? We scrambled into action and miraculously got airfare, tickets, and a hotel room. We were on our way!


Little did we know, we were about to witness one of the greatest Super Bowls of all-time. A glaring example of the impact that occurs from sound leadership and genuine teamwork. The team's journey began with a new head coach, Doug Pederson, joining the Eagles two years earlier. 


His approach was highly collaborative, and consensus driven, which was a drastic change from the leader that preceded him. He began by assessing his leadership team and establishing an optimal organizational design.


He chose assistant coaches that shared his vision of teamwork and collective ownership of building a fully engaged and accountable organization. He demonstrated this approach by establishing cross-functional team meetings where offensive and defensive schemes were reviewed together. This overlapped into their first NFL draft which resulted in the acquisition of a new quarterback, Carson Wentz. Carson shared the same values of teamwork and commitment. The new QB and his team adapted together in their first year, working through many failures and successes. They trained tirelessly in the off-season while Doug Peterson and the coaching staff looked for key additions to improve their offensive and defensive capabilities. 


In 2017, the Eagles started the season as a high performing unit and carried this approach game in and game out. The relaxed style of Pederson combined with the attention to detail resulted in a confident, but low ego team culture. The Eagles had several injuries including a key defensive linebacker, a starting running back, and their all-pro offensive tackle who all experienced season ending injuries. Next came the biggest blow of all, a season ending ACL tear for their leader Carson Wentz.  Almost every notable NFL expert stated the Eagles season was officially over. 


However, the culture and commitment of teamwork and focus would pay-off. Nick Foles came in as the backup quarterback. His career quarterback rating was below the league average, but Doug Pederson and the coaching staff knew he fit the team culture. The approach was about the team, not one individual, and collectively they believed they could accomplish anything. Nick Foles would have one of the highest quarterback ratings ever in the Super Bowl at 106.1 compared to his career average of 87.4 beating likely the greatest quarterback and team of all time in Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.


This game not only proved to be amazing to watch, but is a lesson in the direct correlation of strong leadership to success. This truly is the perfect example of leadership and teamwork.

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