Business Lessons That Can Be
Learned from Football

Cody Riepenhoff - Business Development Specialist

It’s that wonderful time of year again when the leaves change colors, the days get shorter, and the weather becomes more and more brisk. America’s most popular sport kicks off around the country at all levels: High School on Fridays, Collegiate on Saturdays, and Professional on Sundays. Along with millions of other Americans, I look forward to these weekends, which are always sure to be full of action and excitement.

There are many other things we can take away from football, as well as any other sport, other than the entertainment factor. There are lessons to be learned that we can incorporate into business operations.

Let’s take the New England Patriots for example. The organization has been led by Robert Kraft (Owner), Bill Belichick (Head Coach), and Tom Brady (Starting Quarterback) for the past 15 years. Since 2001, when Brady took over at Quarterback, the Patriots have posted a record of 170-54, a win percentage of 75.9%. They have also appeared in 6 Super Bowls in that timeframe, winning 4 of them. It’s safe to say that the Patriots have been one of, if not the most, successful NFL franchises over that time period.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that led to Patriots’ success and see where they apply to the world of business.

Consistency. Merriam-Webster defines consistency as the “condition of adhering together.” That’s exactly what successful organizations do, adhere together. In order to do this, there needs to be consistency not only at the top, but also throughout the entire organization. The keys to adhering together for organizations, whether in sports or business, are attracting, training, retaining talent. Of course, it is unrealistic to believe that you will retain 100% of your employees year after year, but retaining top performers in key roles ensures that the core of the organization remains constant, along with the mission and objectives. As mentioned above, the Patriots have been able to retain top talent in the three most critical positions within the organization for 15 years, the Owner, the Coach, and the Quarterback.

Accountability and Team Work. Operating an organization requires effort from multiple, and in most cases, many people. The individual pieces within an organization, in sports and business, are the driving factors of success or failure. The Patriots place a heavy emphasis on the team as a whole, equality among teammates, and lack of individual ego. By taking on the group mindset, each individual can become aligned with the objectives of the organization and also become dedicated to upholding their responsibilities to accomplish those objectives. Each person is only a piece of the puzzle, and they certainly cannot succeed without support from the organization.

Competitiveness. In a vacuum, an organization’s internal efforts would be the sole driver of results. In reality, the competitive landscape plays a critical role in organizational performance within the marketplace. Organizations compete for increased profits, market share, and sales volume. To do this, the organization must gain a strategic advantage over the competition in some way, such as cost leadership, differentiation, innovation, or operational effectiveness. The Patriots demonstrate the traits needed for an organization to gain these strategic advantages: strong work ethic, competitive intelligence, and high level of focus and preparation.

Organizations are able to set themselves up for success when they keep these factors in mind and are able to effectively practice them on a day-to-day basis.

Now let’s watch some football!

Questions or comments? Please contact Cody Riepenhoff at