Denver Broncos Super Bowl 2016 960x960 px
(Photo credit: Denver Broncos Facebook Page)

At this time of the year, it seems everyone is talking about football, and as a Senior Medical Advisor of Super Bowl 50, I have an insider’s view of what makes teams successful in the NFL. Being both a practicing physician and a management consultant, I can’t help but see the parallels between successful football teams and successful organizations. While having a 350-pound lineman might not help professional organizations increase profits, having strong leadership, common goals, and a team mentality can mean the difference between success and failure.

  • Strong Leadership:

The best coaches in the NFL realize the unique skill set of each player on the roster and utilize them all in a way that positions the team for success. Winners like Belichick, Payton, Coughlin and others have a way of inspiring their players, both individually and as a team, even at the toughest moments. Those players then rally and give it all they have. Leaders have just as strong an impact in business as they do in sports, and oftentimes they can make the difference in whether a project is a success or not.

  • Common Goals:

Another important element of a team’s success is the common goal they share. Everyone from the players, the coaches, the training staff, the front office, and even the concessions are aligned to achieve one goal: To win the Super Bowl. In business, there is no Super Bowl, only competitive advantage. It is up to leadership to determine how they achieve that. But if that strategy isn’t clear to the rest of the organization, it is unlikely they’ll succeed.

  • Team Mentality:

Every team in the NFL has talented players, but some are more focused on personal fame and glory than winning together; that mindset becomes an impediment to a team’s success. A winning team’s purpose is bigger than any individual, and that is a principle that applies both on the field and in the office. The best teams also share a culture of commitment, collegiality, communication and work together on problems to ensure mutual success.

The above list certainly isn’t comprehensive, but I’m sure you’ll find those three qualities in any Super Bowl team. If you’re looking for a winning team, look no further than the individuals who run and produce the Big Game and see how they work with the players to achieve their goals. This group embodies the ideas I mentioned above, and they have a lot of fun while doing it. An event as monumental as the Super Bowl could never happen without that team.

This is has been modified and republished with the author’s permission. You can find the original post here.

Ricardo Martinez, MD, FACEP
Dr. Ricardo Martinez is a nationally recognized board-certified emergency physician and has practiced emergency medicine clinically for more than 30 years, and held senior roles in business, academia, and the federal government. Before joining Adeptus Health, Dr. Martinez was Chief Medical Officer of North Highland Worldwide Consulting, where a major focus of his work was collaborating with physician leadership to enhance their effectiveness in providing high-value care, building data-driven patient-centered teams, and driving cultural change. Dr. Martinez also served as the Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs for the Schumacher Group, a leading emergency medicine practice management company, and was previously appointed Federal Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by President Clinton. He currently serves as faculty at Emory University School of Medicine and previously held roles at Stanford University School of Medicine and as Executive Director of the Medical Leadership Academy. Dr. Martinez has been a senior medical advisor to the National Football League since 1988, facilitating medical care, emergency planning, preparedness, and public health for The Super Bowl. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and served on the Board of Directors of the Public Health Foundation. Martinez pursued undergraduate studies from Louisiana State University, an M.D. from Louisiana State University School of Medicine, and his residency at LSU-Charity Hospital at New Orleans, where he was Chief Resident.


  1. Love this! Completely agree with the analogy as there are so many things we can learn from other industries and professions. I’ve written similarly regarding the high consistency and performance of the New England Patriots and what learnings we have for health care.


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