One Reason the New England Patriots Win: Delayed Gratification

This weekend is one of the most watched television events in the world. Over 100 million people will watch the Super Bowl, which is the championship game for American football. A team that appears in this championship game on a regular basis is the New England Patriots. So whether you like the Patriots or not (I do not) you still have to be impressed with their success and observe what can be learned from it that might positively affect us and our financial future. Since the early 2000s the Patriots have been to the playoffs 15 times, won nine conference championships and five Super Bowls. How can the Patriots be so good for so long? Delayed Gratification.

The Patriots learned years ago that other NFL teams display a high degree of impatience to win. They found that almost all NFL teams overconfidently believed they had a realistic chance to build a Super Bowl team immediately; to the point that during the draft of new players from college teams, they anxiously traded to get higher round picks. To do this they agreed to give up high draft picks in future years. For example, a team wanting a second-round pick in a given year’s draft would be willing to give up a first-round pick in the next year’s draft.

To give a real life example to illustrate this for those of you around the world that are not familiar with American Football, in 2012 the Washington Redskins desperately wanted a college quarterback from Baylor University, Robert Griffin III. They acquired the No. 2 overall pick in the draft to get him by giving the then St. Louis Rams four very high-value draft picks over three years—first-round picks in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and a second-round pick in 2012. Mr. Griffin played only three seasons for the Redskins before suffering a series of injuries and is no longer with the Redskins.  The trade left the Redskins in a hole for many years, without draft picks to sign new talent. Can you picture Esau trading his birthright for a hot bowl of soup when he was hungry?

A smart NFL front office could exploit the other teams’ impatience by systematically trading higher-round picks for more, lower-round ones and the current year’s picks for higher-value ones in future years. The Patriots head coach Bill Belichick used this insight by trading down first-round draft picks in seven of the 18 NFL drafts during his tenure with great success as stated.

I call this delayed gratification. The will to give up short-term “feel good” moments for long-term success or simply stated, giving up short-term reward for long-term reward. So for someone in Africa this means not buying a new suit with the proceeds of their corn harvest and instead buying a cow what will provide income for years. After ten years this person can buy as many new suits as they want. For others in the Western world it might mean not spending all their income and saving 10% to invest for future income. Perhaps forgoing the cost of a vacation and investing that amount of money to have the possibility of many vacations in the future or as Christians to have the possibility to give more in the future.

This is a practical, Biblical financial insight that will bring you prosperity.



Behavioral Economics May Make Champs of the Cleveland Browns…Following the advice of an academic paper, the team improved from 0-16 in 2017 to 7-8-1 last year.By Jon Hartley. Feb. 1, 2019 Wall Street Journal

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