Brett Favre sat in his New Orleans hotel room on the day of the Super Bowl and he kept seeing the same highlight over and over again from the last time the game was played in the Louisiana Superdome. In the highlight, Joe Montana, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback in that game, stepped up to the line of scrimmage and looked out over the Denver Broncos’ defense. Montana saw them lined up in a blitz formation and started calling out an audible, “59 Razor.” The play resulted in a 38-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice as the 49ers went on to demolish the Broncos 55-10.
Later that day, Favre, and his Green Bay Packers teammates, stepped onto the same Superdome turf to square up against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. As the Packers’ offense prepared to go out for their first series of the game, Favre huddled with his head coach, Mike Holmgren. Holmgren instructed his quarterback to start the game by just running the plays he called, nothing fancy, and no audibles until the offense got into a groove.
In the second play of the series, Favre stepped up to the line and couldn’t believe his eyes. He saw that the Patriots were lined up in a blitz formation, the same defense that prompted Montana to call the Razor audible against the Broncos. Adding to Favre’s surprise was the fact that Patriots defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick was pretty well-known in the league for strictly sticking to zone coverage and rarely blitzing.
Well, in typical Favre fashion, he disregarded the head coach’s order, paying more attention to the defensive alignment that was in front of him and the unique opportunity he might have. The audible play call resulted in a 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison, which set the tone for a Packers 35-21 Super Bowl victory. It was a brilliant move by the Hall of Fame quarterback because he was conscious and not operating in default mode.
It is important in life to have a plan, but it cannot be emphasized enough that we also have to be prepared to call our own audibles when things become abundantly clear that a pivot is necessary. It is so crucial to avoid falling into the trap of living on autopilot. If not, we will undoubtedly grow into a glazed-over “zombie” going through life unhappy and waking up one day wondering what happened.
Many people stubbornly stick to what they know without seeking new ways. The habit is the issue. We go through life doing the same things we have always done even though our life isn’t working. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity! So, why do we keep living the same? We do so because it is what we know. It is what’s comfortable. It is known, and things could be worse. So, we don’t pay attention to the repeated signs that we are off track.