Patricia McGuire
University president

Patricia McGuire

President of Trinity Washington University.

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Experience counts

Q: In the pursuit of success, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being an established power vs. a hungry upstart? In this Sunday's Super Bowl, would you give an edge to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who has won a Super Bowl, over New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who doesn't have any Super Bowl experience?

Bourbon Street becomes Underdog Heaven this weekend. The New Orleans Saints carry more than the usual rookie high hopes for winning into their first Super Bowl -- they are the avatar of their drowned city rising from Katrina's catastrophic flood. Football becomes a whimsical distraction against the backdrop of humanity's triumph over chaos.

Until Peyton Manning takes the field. Goliath flashing his prior Super Bowl ring peers down the field at the little wide-eyed Davids. Game on. Salvation takes a back seat to yards rushing and turnovers and TDs.

Manning and his Indianapolis Colts have been to this dance before, so they are the odds-on favorites to beat the Saints and Drew Brees. But Peyton would do well to remember the lesson that his little brother Eli taught the New England Patriots in 2008 when he led the upstart New York Giants, a wild-card team, in victory over Tom Brady and the previously undefeated Patriots in one of the biggest shockers in Super Bowl history. Underdogs had a feast that year!

Competitive experience certainly provides an advantage not only in sports but in most professional endeavors. Clients seek out famous defense lawyers like Brendan V. Sullivan because years of litigation experience make a favorable outcome more likely. Patients facing surgery should always ask how many procedures the surgeon has done -- you don't want your knee replaced by a doctor who does one a year. Experience is a more likely predictor of success, often even more so than sheer talent alone.

Drew Brees is a very talented quarterback, but he and his team will face the same challenges that all first-time Super Bowl teams have encountered. The environment in the week leading up to the big game is like nothing they have previously experienced, and the distractions, disruptions to routines and stress of the moment add to the odds against them. Most teams that have ever played in the Super Bowl lost on their first visit.

But Saints can make miracles happen!

By Patricia McGuire  |  February 4, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Experience vs. hunger Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: A motivator like no other | Next: Go, Saints!

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