Aaron Francisco probably isn’t a name you’re familiar with unless you are a devoted fan of the Arizona Cardinals, Brigham Young Cougars, or you grew up in his hometown of Lale, Hawaii. He is a backup safety for the Arizona Cardinals and played admirable defense against a smashmouth Pittsburgh Steelers team.
On the final drive of the game, Aaron Francisco demonstrated two lessons for all of us who work with youth each day. The scene was this: Pittsburgh had a 2nd down with 6 to go, and a little less than a minute remaining before time ran out on their Super Bowl dream. Pittsburgh’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass under a heavy rush and flung a quick, desperation ball to the right to soon-to-be-MVP wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Covering Holmes was none other than our man, #47, Aaron Francisco. It was the culmination of everything either team had worked on all year… everyone had practiced their part and this was the big show. Francisco had the pass covered! And, then, something momentous happened. As the ball was on it’s way to Holmes, Francsico tripped and fell to the turf. Holmes gathered the pass in and romped 40 yards to the doorstep of the endzone. All because Aaron Francisco lost his footing.
Here is our first lesson from Super Bowl XLIII. No matter how hard we practice, try, or are at the top of our game, sometimes we trip and fall down. Sometimes we falter at a critical moment when everything is on the line. It can happen to you, it can happen to those you work with, it can happen to your supervisor. How we react to falling down determines 0ur true character. How we react to someone else’s falling down is the most honest gauge of our character. Next time you really mess up, or, better yet, next time someone you work with really screws up, remember Aaron Francisco.
Back to the Super Bowl… Two plays later, with just over 30 seconds remaining in the game, Ben Roethlisberger took a short drop and lofted the ball, again to the right, in the corner of the end zone for Santonio Holmes. Holmes extended his arms, miraculously kept his toes planted in the corner of the field of play and pulled Roethlisberger’s pass down into his waiting arms for the winning touchdown. Again, guarding Holmes was none other than Aaron Francisco. However, this time Aaron Francisco hadn’t fallen down. In fact, he played the tightest, most perfect coverage that was possible- all to no avail. Holmes brought the ball down and Lombardi Trophy to the Steelers.
Here is our second Super Bowl lesson. Sometimes, no matter how perfect we are, how on top of our game we are… well, to use the polite version of the phrase… stuff happens. You may be the greatest teacher of all time- but, guess what? Stuff happens. Out-of-your-control stuff. Unavoidable stuff. And, again, all we are left with is how we react to what happens. What do your reactions say about how you deal with your stuff?