Did he blow it?
It was the Super Bowl. Just a few minutes to go. The Miami Dolphins led 14-0. They sent their little kicker, Garo Yepremian, out to kick a field goal that would give them a 17-0 lead and, in all likelihood, clinch the game. And what a perfect way to finish a17-0 season (17 wins, 0 losses) than with an actual 17-0 score in the Super Bowl! It would just be perfect, right?!
The kick was blocked. The ball bounced back toward Yepremian -- a 5'7" soccer player from
Cyprus, not a football player. The next few seconds would become one of the most infamous football bloopers of all time. Yepremian grabbed the ball. He panicked, attempted to throw the ball as if he just found himself holding a grenade with the pin out of it. It slipped out of his hand as he tried to get rid of it so he batted it up into the air. The Washington defender picked the ball out of mid-air and ran it in for a touchdown.
You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-pxMm_UdY4
Instead of a 17-0 lead and obvious victory, it was now 14-7 and the verdict was very much in doubt. Had Yepremian blown it?!?!
We'll come back to that...
Confession of a Recovering Cynic
As a Recovering Cynic, I've both scoffed at and fully embraced the practice of New Year's Resolutions. New Year's Eve has been my favorite holiday for years. Fresh starts. Clean slates. Lists of all the ways THIS year is going to be THE year. Promises and declarations made. Then, almost none kept. Within a couple of weeks. Sometimes within days. "I blew it!"
The "I blew it" notion. The "I just can't stick with it" notion. The "I tried it and it didn't work" notion. They're all part of the same narrative. A storyline that implies that if I can't do it perfectly or if I don't see immediate results or receive instant gratification, then I'm not doing it. Either I'm going Undefeated or I'm not doing it!
Yeah, okay Matt, that's nice. But what do New Year's Resolutions have to do with Garo Yepremian, the Miami Dolphins and the Super Bowl?!
The Perfect Season?
The last few minutes of that Super Bowl were very tense. After being outplayed for the entire game, suddenly Washington had momentum. They had a chance at their own storybook ending. Meanwhile on the Miami sidelines, fear crept in where there had been none....until it was over....
Final Score: Miami 14, Washington 7.
They held on. So yes, in 1972, the Miami Dolphins went undefeated. 17-0. And it is often referred to as "The Perfect Season." Undefeated = Perfect; Perfect = Undefeated, right?
Or does it?
Well, in fact they did play 17 games and they did win all of them. But did the season go perfectly?
In Game 5, their starting quarterback broke his ankle. Hardly ideal. He wouldn't play again until the Super Bowl.
Their offense didn't score on every possession.
Their defense allowed opponents to score several times during the season.
They had fumbles and interceptions.
Yepremian actually missed thirteen field goals and two extra points (Today, he would likely be cut before the end of the season with that many misses.)
One game was decided by one point; six different games were decided by less than a touchdown.
And of course there was Yepremian's aforementioned hot-potato act in the Super Bowl itself.
So given all of that, does Undefeated = Perfect?
Is your journey from Point A to Point B....or... Point A to Point Be?
Your journey of self-improvement is an Infinite Game. It's not from 1/1/22-12/31/22. It's not a New Year's Resolution; it's a New YOU Resolution. It's not from Point A to Point B....it's from Point A to Point Be. And in this game you can go Undefeated!!!
Whether you have specific New Year's Resolutions, a list of objectives or goals or whatever you want to call them, there is ONE way and one way only to go undefeated -- and it's definitely NOT by attempting to be perfect.
How do you go Undefeated? Never quitting, never giving up.
Remember: the Miami Dolphins went Undefeated, but they didn't do it perfectly. If you go through a bag of Doritoes in one sitting, that may be a fumble, but you can still go Undefeated. The only way to lose in your journey from Point A to Point Be is to quit. The only way to go Undefeated is to keep going. Never give up.