It’s the NFL video replay that will live in infamy. The “Non-Call” that cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.

To say it’s a bitter pill to swallow is the most “under” of understatements. And while there’s every reason for Saints players, ownership and fans to grab onto that travesty of justice with wringing of hands and grinding of teeth, I thought the quotes from Drew Brees, their future, first ballot Hall of Fame QB, was worth restating here.

On the controversy surrounding the third-and-ten play on New Orleans’ final full drive of regulation today:
“Yea, that’s tough to swallow. I think there were plenty of times throughout the season there’s calls that go against you, go for you, or they miss, or they didn’t. Obviously in a situation like that where it seemed like everybody in the world saw it, it’s tough.”

On processing the loss in this manner:

“It’s never going to be a perfect game. It’s never going to be perfectly officiated, for example. There is a lot happening out there and it happens very, very fast. You could talk about a solution potentially being replaying certain types of penalties. Maybe ones that you say are pretty black and white in regard to whether it was or wasn’t. I do not know how far that will go. Obviously, if they were replaying pass interference or whether someone was hit early before the ball even got there, then I’m sure that would’ve been reviewed today. It would have been found that it was a PI (pass interference), but it wasn’t.”

On the game as a whole:

“Listen, I felt like there was plenty of opportunities for us offensively, that we didn’t take advantage of. It was a hard fought game on both sides. Credit to them. They’re a great team. A great staff. Felt like there were some more plays we could’ve made, so regardless of a call / no call, or what, I felt like there were opportunities for us, that I wish we could have taken advantage of.”

This kind of reasoned, measured response under the hot media lights directly after the game was rife for criticism, outrage, accusations, or worse. Instead Drew Brees showed a face of class: perspective, honesty, and most importantly, the perspective of doing better next time.

After bitter and perceived “unfair” sales losses, and we’ve all had them, there can be a temptation to blast anger and outrage, and perhaps even appeal to a higher court of decision making for a reconsideration. While those reactions are understandable, they generally have little benefit for the organization. Focus should be on the process that led up the decision. A careful post-mortem on what was, and wasn’t done. Timing. Messaging. Rationale. Coverage of all influencers and decision makers. These are the cornerstones of the most professional sales organizations, from C-suite through feet on the street personnel.

Sales is often a zero sum game. One’s win is often another’s loss. How you deal with those bitter losses can be critical in building a culture of resilience, perseverance and professionalism.

Be ready for the bad calls, and non-calls. And rise up to do better next time. That’s what Hall of Famers do.


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