4 Business Lessons from the NFL Blitz Package
The Denver Broncos were the favorites to win the Super Bowl before the 2013 NFL training camps started. Von Miller then decided to push the envelope on recreational drug use and showing up for court appearances, earning a 6-game suspension, and the talking heads thought the Broncos might be 0-2 after facing the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants. I am happy to report that the Denver Broncos are 2-0 after those two games. The offense is a HUGE part of those wins since PFM (Peyton Freakin’ Manning) has thrown 9 TDs to zero interceptions. However, this post focuses on what we can learn from the aggressive use of the blitz package!
So what are the pros and cons for “bringing the blitz package”?
1. Your “base defense” isn’t cutting it
Teams blitz because their defense can’t stop the opponent’s offense. Their base package, their “mano y mano” strategy, is losing. In the Broncos case, the linemen and linebackers either could not stop the Ravens and Giants running game, or they couldn’t get pressure on the quarterbacks. And even Joe Flacco and Eli Manning can complete passes if they can stand back in the pocket all day long (yes, that is a stab at two good quarterbacks)! So, you bring an extra linebacker, safety, or cornerback on a blitz. You bring more people than the opponent has available for blockers.
Business Lesson: Sometimes you simply need help! If you are a project manager, you may need to recruit more resources internally or seek supplemental staffing to meet your project delivery goals. If you are trying to monitor social mentions of your brand, the volume of mentions – and locations of those mentions on review sites and social channels – may be too much to handle manually. You may need to consider a monitoring solution. Keep in mind that throwing more resources at a problem doesn’t automatically take care of the problem. It still requires strategy and active management to achieve your end goals.
2. You want to keep the opponents guessing
Ever notice how an NFL quarterback comes out of the huddle, gets into the offensive formation, and then starts pointing everywhere and yelling? He is trying to guess where the defense is going to bring the pressure, and then communicate his strategy to his teammates. This is a chess match on a football field. The defense may fake a blitz, and then back out of it to confuse the quarterback. Or, they may indicate they are bringing heavy pressure from one side – anticipating the quarterback will change the play to block the blitz – and then bring pressure from the opposite side!
Business Lesson: If you fall into a comfort zone with your products and services, then your opponents – your COMPETITORS – know what to expect from you. Eventually, they will come up with a strategy to beat your team. Always seek to disrupt your industry, and your opponents, by constantly innovating and challenging the status quo.
3. You want to steal the momentum
When you bring the blitz package, you are aggressively seeking to disrupt your opponent. If you can overwhelm them, then you may break-up a handoff and cause a fumble. If you confuse the quarterback, you might get an interception. Turnovers change the momentum of the game, demoralize your opponent, and get your fans cheering wildly.
Business Lesson: If you innovate, let the world know! If you just won a major contract with a large client, or had a successful project delivery for a client, shout it from the rooftops. If you actively monitored industry keywords on social channels, and saw the opportunity to present your products/services as a valid alternative to competitors’ offerings, grab that opportunity! As football fans, we’ve all been disappointed by our team getting a turnover – and then meekly running 3 plays and punting the ball back to the opposition. DO NOT BE MEEK! Grasp the opportunities when they present themselves, and then let the world know via press releases, “success story” case studies, and interviews with happy clients.
4. Beware of gaps in the defense
There is a drawback to bringing the blitz package. If the play is poorly designed, or ill-timed, a good offense will burn it every time. For example, if you “bring everybody” in a rush to get to the quarterback, then that means a lot of offensive skill players are open. The quarterback can pass to his “hot read” receiver who isn’t even covered (you brought everybody, remember?). Or, he can be the decoy that the defenders focus upon, and then pass a “middle screen” to a running back after all those sack-happy defenders rush by him.
Business Lesson: If you have multiple projects in an organization, stealing resources from one project – to get the more urgent projects done – will impact the schedule of that resource-starved project. Focusing all of your attention on one business or industry problem, at the expense of paying attention to other organizational issues or competitor offerings, will get you burned. Success comes from good planning and having the business savvy to both anticipate the gaps…and then cover them.
How is your NFL team doing this season? Are they successfully blitzing their opponents, or are they getting burned by ill-timed blitzes? How is your business team doing this season? Are you winning with the blitz…or getting burned?
Photo Credit: Toby Gerhart picking up the blitz by Brian Dawkins, while Ponder completes another pass by rburtzel, on Flickr