Build Excellence, Leave a Legacy

Tom Brady side photo

Today is the Super Bowl. It’s the day when the champion of the American Football Conference plays the champion of the National Football Conference. The winner will be declared the National Football League (NFL) champion. While soccer or futbol, dominates the thoughts of sports fans around the world, in the United States, the Super Bowl is a big deal. Fanatics plan their weddings around the Super Bowl and spend their life savings to attend a game. More moderate fans may still plan their entire year (e.g. vacation) around Super Bowl Sunday. It’s a big deal in the US.

By the time you read this, the game will be over and the champion declared. Either the New England Patriots will have added to their incredible record of success or the Atlanta Falcons will have made their initial entry into the journal of NFL champions. If you’re a fan, you watched every second. If you’re not a fan, perhaps you went golfing or shopping. Typically crowded venues are often wide-open during large, televised sporting events. Want to avoid lines? Go to the mall during the Super Bowl. Want to get onto that popular golf course? Go while the Master’s is being televised from Augusta National.

I’m a big college football fan, but a lukewarm NFL fan. I’ll generally watch most of the Super Bowl and of course I love the commercials that are aired during the big game. But I’m simply not a huge fan of the NFL. I like the gatherings, the parties, the cookouts and all the festivities surrounding the game. Nonetheless, I rarely watch the game with much enthusiasm or interest. It’s simply not my thing.

Yet I’ve thought about the Super Bowl more this year than any other. Why? Because the New England Patriots are close to being a dynasty if they’re not already. They win year in and year out. They retool. They draft new players. They rebuild their team. And they win.

I’m pulling for the Atlanta Falcons. They’ve never won the Super Bowl and I generally pull for the underdog. It’s what I do. I’ve also spent a significant amount of my adult life within an easy drive of Atlanta so there is a familiarity with the team. But to be fully transparent, I don’t really care much about the outcome. As I already stated, I’m not a big NFL fan.

However, I have tremendous respect for what Kraft, Belichick, and Brady have done. These guys are the owner, coach, and quarterback respectively. They have established a culture of excellence and left a legacy that will stand a long time. Love or hate the Patriots, they’re winners. They work as a team. They win consistently. They overcome obstacles. They don’t make excuses. They simply win.

This week I’ve read a lot about these guys in the paper and watched a TV special on Kraft. My takeaway? They expect to win. They put team first. They demand excellence. The result? They’ve created a legacy.

Regardless of the Super Bowl’s outcome, are you a fan of excellence? Do you appreciate what the Patriots have accomplished? Great leaders build winning organizations on a foundation of excellence. They select their team carefully. They build the foundation block-by-block. They keep at it. They don’t give up. They reinforce a culture of winning. They prioritize team success over individual accomplishment.

Is your organization a winner? Does it demonstrate excellence? What legacy are you building? Whether you run a large public corporation, head up a small non-profit or simply act as the head of your family, what are you building? And are building it deliberately? Great leaders don’t leave success to chance. They build it block-by-block. They systematically attract and retain the right talent. They remain true to their values.

Whether you watched the Super Bowl or went shopping yesterday, my hope is that you had a wonderful day. And I hope you give some thought this week to building a legacy of excellence and success at home, in your local church, on your team and in your place of employment.

Have a great week and remember to build a culture of excellence in your family, organization or team.

is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]


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