I started playing chess when I was in elementary school. My father taught me how to play. He was, and is, very smart. My father had studied the greats of chess, read books and watched film on chess moves and strategies. And strategy played a huge role in how he played me, my brother, or whomever his opponent was. Every move he taught me on the chessboard meant something, something that was to be realized several moves later. By moving a pawn up two squares instead of one meant clearing a space for the bishop to activate when ready. Moving a knight into a precarious position against the opponent’s queen meant that 4 moves from now, the queen would be taken by an unassuming rook. In defeat all those years against my father, I watched and learned how to use these strategies and developed into a fairly good chess player myself.
I can’t help but draw a parallel to the way the New England Patriots develop strategy for each football game. I’m not a football analyst by the least bit. I watch the game as a casual observer like most. What I do see is the obvious difference in the game preparation and adjustments between the Patriots and other NFL teams. Hundreds of hours of video of the opponents’ offense, defense, special teams are watched by the coaching staff to prepare for each game. So teams get a fairly good sense of the capabilities of their opponent. Once the game begins, it is up to the coaches to stick with the game plan or adjust accordingly. Using the chess example, the moves made on the field by the New England Patriots are always calculated and scrutinized for weaknesses. Quarterback counts are altered, snap counts yelled and varied – all to elicit a reaction that can be used later in the drive or in the game. Unsuccessful plays run, maybe a pass not completed or a running play stopped are not merely just trial and error scenarios. These plays will show where the defense has a weakness and the Patriots seem to be the best team, intelligence wise, to determine and exploit these weaknesses. And then, without warning, the offense strikes. And uses the weakness they have discovered by watching, analyzing, and then attacking without mercy over and over again.
The New England Patriots are on a really great run, again. It seems like a foregone conclusion that each week they will be victorious. What I especially love watching and appreciate is the fact that the coaching staff, the players of the New England Patriots are simply more prepared and better coached than any other team in the league. There are other teams with players with great skill, speed, arm strength, tacking ability. But the cerebral effect cannot be understated. The strategy of the game of chess is to win the game. It is clearly evident that the New England Patriots have that simple goal every time they take the field, win the game.