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Super Bowl Review – part 2

The Atlanta Falcons did not lose Super Bowl LI last Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017. They lost last February, 2016, when no one was looking. They lost last March, 2016, when there was no crowd. And last April. So did the rest of the NFL except the New England Patriots. Championships are won and lost over time, a long time. Championships are won and lost in the weight room in the off-season. They are won and lost during practice in pre-season. Championships are won and lost in the obscurity of one more set or one less set, one more rep or one less rep, and one more sprint when the rest have decided to rest. Championships are won off the field, 365-24-7, by what you take care of and what you don’t. The cost of a championship ring is Real-Life Lesson #5,991 I’ve taught to football players for 40 years and college law enforcement students for two decades – take care of yourself and you’ll take care of the rest. Dual meaning – you will beat the rest of the league and you won’t let excessive rest beat you.

Contrary to popular myth, the Atlanta Falcons did not lose Super Bowl LI because of one play called, or not called, depending on perspective, in the 3rd quarter. They didn’t lose because they called a pass play instead of a run play. The Atlanta Falcons lost because they violated Real-Life Lesson #3,413 that I’ve taught athletes and students for decades – don’t get beat up, don’t get beat down. There are two directions you get beat – up and down. The primary reason for getting beat up and beat down is Relative Weakness, defined as comparatively less strength and endurance than the opponent. Relative Weakness is the first loss, the loss of the strength and endurance that contributes directly to the second loss – on the scoreboard. Relative Weakness is the inability to match and exceed the 4th quarter strength and endurance of your opponent. The main cause of Relative Weakness is weaker training than your opponent. The problem is that you won’t know if you will suffer Relative Weakness until you line up against someone who has out-lifted, out-worked, and out-run you in the gym, on the practice field, on the hills, and everywhere else you run sprints.

All combat sports, including real-life, are strength tests.  All the Xs and Os that coaches draw up are not the primary elements of winning football games. The Xs and Os that represent pass plays and running plays in a team’s playbooks are wishful thinking – intended outcomes. But the main element of the success of any play, regardless of what play is called, is X Fitness – the fitness levels of the Xs in your playbook. When your Xs are stronger than their Os, you will win – guaranteed. You will stay stronger longer. You will not be the first to weaken. You won’t collapse in the 4th quarter because of fatigue in mind, body, and soul. Without the highest level of X Fitness, you will get beat up and beat down just like the Atlanta Falcons did in the 4th quarter and in overtime.

Atlanta lost Super Bowl LI because they got beat up and beat down after they beat up and beat down New England in the first half. You can blame Atlanta’s play-calling but it misses the point – dual meaning. Play-calling doesn’t score points and play-calling is not the main issue of any football game, Super Bowl or otherwise. Calling a pass play in the third quarter didn’t lose the Super Bowl. Blaming one play is myopic, short-sighted – a product of tunnel vision that takes less effort than going deeper. Trying to go deep on the field didn’t lose the Super Bowl. Losing was caused by not going deep enough inside. Here’s Real-Life Lesson #1,446: go deeper than your opponent – on the field and in mind, body, and soul. If you don’t go deeper, you will come up short. Guaranteed.

Fatigue beat up and beat down the Atlanta Falcons. At any level of football, the main priority is fitness, defined as strength and stamina. Strength and stamina physically, psychologically intellectually, and spiritually wins championship at all levels, not play-calling. If you’re strong enough, the play called will not matter because it will work out. It follows Real-Life Lesson #362: if you work out, plays work out. Plays work out because of the chain reaction produced by strength. Strength is connected to stamina, speed, and skill which produce the 3 F-Bomb outcomes – full-out, flawless, full-time execution. The level of your strength and stamina determines the consistency of skill and speed. If you are stronger, you will last longer. You will run faster and execute better than the opponent in the fourth quarter and overtime.

I never have and never will time players in the 40-yard sprint because 40-times are irrelevant. Forty-times test speed in perfect conditions – no fatigue, no pain, no exhaustion, no discomfort. That doesn’t reflect the 4th quarter. The 4th quarter is hell. Pure, unadulterated hell. Someone always slows down faster than someone who doesn’t. Football changes speed – dual meaning. First, hit after hit slows you down unless you have trained for strength-endurance. Secondly, most football games operate on the 10-90 Rule – 10% is exertion, 90% is rest. When you watch a football game, you are watching about 10 minutes of action and about 50 minutes of inaction. That’s the conventional game. There’s even less action when teams try to protect a lead. They take more rest time trying to kill the clock because they have been brainwashed to believe that killing the clock works. Playing safe is dangerous. Killing the clock causes the fatal condition called complacency. Complacency kills any team on any field and in any field. Complacency is your biggest team threat, not the opponent.  Killing the clock, like in real-life, is passively waiting to die. The only time that killing the clock works is when the other team quits and lets you win by killing the clock. In other words, killing the clock works only when the other team is killing the clock worse.

Calling a pass play in the 3rd quarter didn’t lose the Super Bowl. Atlanta had the NFL’s MVP at quarterback (Matt Ryan) and the world’s best receiver (Julio Jones). New England was expecting Atlanta to run so calling a pass was smart. If you’re afraid to call a pass play with the NFL’s MVP at QB and the planet’s best receiver, you should quit coaching and play fantasy football. Running plays do not guarantee success. Running plays lose yards and lose the ball the same way pass plays do if execution is flawed due to weakness. And, NEVER put the game in the hands or foot of a kicker. I have the world’s longest no-kicking streak in my coaching career. No-kicking has worked for us more often than it has not. Even when it doesn’t, we can live with not turning football into a soccer game and a shootout. We don’t believe in losing by watching the kicker miss the net. If you have to lose, go down swinging, not kicking.

Never play for field goals. Review the NFL playoffs and see for yourself what happened to the teams who played for field goals. None of them played in the Super Bowl. Playing for field goals kills your team’s drive – dual meaning. It puts out their fire and ends their drive far away from the end zone.

Atlanta’s defense had 93 chances to stop New England. Ninety-three offensive plays is post-modern football. Atlanta ran/passed a conventional 46 plays. One the controversial pass plays called by Atlanta ended in a sack because the protection broke down. Real-Life Lesson #9, 888 – if you don’t protect, you will get wrecked. Atlanta’s defense ran out of gas. They didn’t stop any of New England’s last five drives. Watch the replay and pay close attention to who ran faster in the 4th quarter. No one on the field ran faster or more consistently than New England’s receivers, right up to the last play in overtime. New England’s miracle comeback was more evidence that it’s time to re-think the size of defenders. You don’t need super-heavyweights on defense to stop post-modern offenses that routinely crack the magic number of Over 80 offensive plays per game. Post-modern defenses need muscle – lean, cut middleweights and lightweights that can last the entire game at full-strength and full-speed.

When you give up a 25-point lead, you need Real-Life lesson #6,451: if things don’t work out, go back to working out. Check your workout’s work-rest ratio. If your workout is more rest than work, it won’t workout on game day. You can’t last longer than you train for. Game-day tempo matches workout tempo. You can’t outwork your workout. Game-day work matches workout work. Strength-endurance matters most. Strength won’t matter if it’s not sustained. If you are not stronger longer than your opponent, you will lose no matter how big the stage or the audience. Push more weight, don’t get pushed around. Eat right, sleep right, lift right, sprint right or it ends up wrong. The last rep of your workout should look like the first. There should be no difference in reps from first to last, in form and strength. Same applies to 4th quarter on game-day.  Fourth quarter plays and 1st quarter plays should look exactly the same in form and strength. No drop-off, no decline. If there’s a drop-off, you get dropped.

X Fitness and Blunt Talk Podcast are committed to lift in body, mind, and soul and to the celebration of Good Inspirational News Only. There’s enough depressing news. We won’t add to it. Good Inspirational News Only. All 143 episodes of Blunt Talk Podcast are free, permanently archived downloads compliments of X Fitness. Every guest has a Soul of a Lifter. Guaranteed to lift. Here is the link:

Blessings & all good things.


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)

Head coach – Niagara X-men football

Owner – X Fitness Inc.


Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of SWAT FOOTBALL Books are at:

His books include:

4th & hell: seasons 1 and 2, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT No-Huddle Offense, SWAT Defense, SWAT Tackling Video & e-book,  X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur

He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in 2014. And just released, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.” The first stage of his new Blunt Talk e-books is now for sale. He is currently writing three non-fiction novels book called The Mystery of Murder: Working with the dead, Midnight Shift from Hell, and Another Bar Fight. Another book on human potential called “Hashtag Peace” is at the editing stage.


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