Don’t Go Tossing Hail Marys

Sorry, you lost the game before you even started to play. Once you realized you were close to defeat, you did what most people do — closed your eyes, tossed a hail mary, and prayed. Then, you did the last and only thing you could — lost

Why? Because hail marys are exciting but doomed for failure.

Did you win health, happiness, and hustle in 2018?

A strange question, I know. Let me say it another way: are you happy with the sum of your efforts whether it’s physically, financially, mentally, or spiritually?

If so, I bet you had good tactics coupled with a great strategy.
If not, I’m sure you had a bad strategy or a good one with bad tactics.

Well, there are 30 days left in 2018! Is the game over?

I’m making this for you. I hope it helps.

The Game (is not) Over

My partner’s tia turned 90 years fabulous today. We took the train down to Chicago this morning. It was an awesome party. As the end neared, I noticed a group gathering at the bar.

The Chicago Bears were losing by 7 with less than 3 minutes left. That’s only one score with plenty of time. But after the New York Giants kicked a field goal to go up by 10, all the fans left the bar, said their goodbyes, and home.

There’s still time,” I thought to myself.

The Comeback Kid

Have you ever heard the term “2-minute drill”? No worries. If not, you have most likely seen one attempted. If you like highlights, you have seen one capped off by a game-winning score.

When executed, it’s a beautiful thing.

The first time I became witness was 1989. Joe Montana had taken the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 49ers were down by three points with 3:20 left. And then he led the team 92 yards before throwing for the winning touchdown with 34 seconds left.

This was one of his 31 fourth-quarter comebacks in the NFL. There’s not another quarterback you’d want on your team when you’re down by 7 or less, with two minutes on the clock, in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl.

He’s wasn’t called Comeback Kid for no reason.

Don’t Go Tossing Hail Marys

The 2-Minute Drill is the last option for most teams. If it does not work, teams have to rely on the most exciting play in football — the hail mary.

When this drill is used, it’s tactical. Meaning, it would not be used if it’s not needed. The 2-minute drill is also a tactic. It has two key aspects:

  1. Clock management (timeouts)
  2. Playing calling (running vs. passing)

Whenever you see or hear of a close game, a team attempted to make a drive (score) using the 2-minute drill. If that team used a hail mary they most likely lost.

Hail marys work only about 2.5% of the time.

Off-Season (aka holiday season)

I like to think of the holidays (November and December) of my “off-season.” It’s the time of the year where I revisit what happened, look forward to what’s coming up next, and as I get older, spend time with friends and family.

For athletes, the off-season comes when there are no games left to play. The goal is to go into the off-season as a champion, but most teams don’t. Regardless of winning and losing, the best spend time and effort spent working on your weaknesses so you can capitalize next year.

You can think of January 1st as the season-opener for people looking to make changes in their lives. A time to begin, even if it’s a comeback (it usually is).

But there’s one problem:

If New Years is the beginning of the season, the holidays are the worst training camp ever. It’s the equivalent of an athlete showing up in August after not only taking the whole summer off but coming back fatter and slower.

Strategy Versus Tactics

People are confused by the terms tactic and strategy. Your strategy is your overall plan. Strategies are complex, includes decision-making. Tactics are the actual means used to reach your goal.

  • Spending time with family is a good strategy.
  • Staying connected with friends is a good strategy.
  • Building trust by providing value is a good strategy


  • Holidays and birthdays are an excellent tactic to spend time with loved ones.
  • Happy hour or recreation leagues are an excellent tactic to stay connected with friends.
  • Writing this blog is an excellent tactic to build trust and provide value.

As 2018 ends and the New Year approaches, people with bad strategies are using good tactics to circumvent being down on their health and fitness goals.

Good tactics won’t help you if you have a bad strategy.

Let me explain…

The holiday season is weird. Probably too funny for a multitude of reasons to cover here. I’m speaking specifically or people who set goals early in the year and/or plan on setting goals for next year.

People either say “Fuck it, it’s the holidays. I’ll get back to work later,” or “Holy shit, what can I do right now to XXX?” One’s a bad strategy, and the other is a dangerous tactic.

  • A strategy is a plan.
  • A tactic is a way to meet your plan.
  • There’s a plan to win football games.
  • The 2-minute drill is a part of that plan. But once it’s being used, the team is already in trouble

Unless you are the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals regularly employed the 2-minute drill. So much so — it became known as the “hurry-up offense,” “no-huddle offense,” or HUNH. It’s the strategy that led them to their second Super Bowl appearance, even if they lost against Joe Montana’s 49ers.

In my opinion, the fact that Montana used another strategy, west coast offense, characterized by short passes that stretch out the opposition, opening up both long runs and long passes led to that win.

And the fact that Joe Montana was a natural. Another nickname for him was “Cool Joe.” He played his best when the pressure was on.

But that’s just me.

The great thing about sport and life — you can choose your strategy and pick your tactics. There’s more than one way to win.

What’s your strategy? What tactics are you using?

If you are trying to start getting in shape over the holidays, it’s either a bad plan or a bad tactic. Why? Because the stress of the holidays usually has the opposite effect of health and fitness.

Am I saying you should screw it and pack on the pounds? No. Especially not if you have been diligent since, let’s say, September (about 90 days).

Whether you’re a gym addict or couch potato, you will need both: a) plan and b) tactics.

  • To have a plan without execution is a slow recipe for failure.
  • To implement something without a plan is just going to create a lot of hype before the fall.

Need any help — hit me up — I’m pretty good at coming up with health and fitness strategies.

Here’s Your 2-Minute Holiday / New Year Drill

Have a good plan.

What’s been your strategy so far? To workout two, three, four times a week? To grocery shop on Saturday, meal prep on Sunday, and pack lunches for the week? Your strategy can look many ways, ideally, whatever it is, it’s working for you before the holidays. If you don’t have a good plan — don’t try to find tactics or quick ways to hack your health now. It most likely won’t work. It’s like building a house on quicksand.

Plan for stress.

You already know the holidays are stressful. What does that mean? Workout less? Allow yourself to indulge? Or change your expectations. Pressure is normal. Stressing out, however, is using a result of wanting things to be different from they are. Hey, it’s the holidays! What about it can you enjoy?

Do not give up.

Whether you had a good plan or not, why stop doing what’s working? Even if you aren’t doing everything you wish, you are doing something right. Now keep it up.

Do what you can (where you are, with what you have).

Want to start your fitness plan over the holidays? That’s cool. But do what you can. And where you are — the most stressful time of the year — that may not be much. That’s okay. Once January rolls around, you’ll be ahead of the rest.

Huddle up.

While the no-huddle offense, quick attack, works for the Patriots (because of Tom Brady), health is a complicated thing. You will need the support of others. Whether it’s a friend or a coach, suck up your pride and ask for help.

Watch the clock.

Time management is more important in real life than sports. So what, you have a month left in the year. You still have 24 hours in a day. How are you using your time? What gets scheduled gets done.

Believe me: I know it’s tempting to toss-up a long pass as a last-ditch effort. Know this: it’s better not to have to come back in the first place. But this “DON’T GET BEHIND” at the top of your strategy.

And if some reason you find yourself slipping — give me a call — whether it’s about exercise and nutrition or another stress.

I have a few good plays in my book.

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