Super Bowl LI looked like it was going to be a dud as the Atlanta Falcons jumped out to a 28-3 late in the third quarter before the New England Patriots stormed back to win the first overtime game ever in the Super Bowl by a score of 34-28. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick became the first quarterback and coach to win five Super Bowls in NFL history. It was also the first comeback of more than 10 points in Super Bowl history and third biggest comeback ever in the playoffs. ESPN's Trent Dilfer called it the greatest game in NFL history during his postgame commentary. The Pats are the early favorites to win Super Bowl LII.
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Here are the biggest winners and losers of the NFL's 51st Super Bowl.
Brady, 39, set a record for most passing yards in Super Bowl history with 466 passing yards, as well as most completions with 43. He likely sealed his claim as the NFL's greatest quarterback ever. He overcame multiple drops by his wide receivers and became the first five-time Super Bowl winner as a quarterback and the game's first four-time MVP. Brady’s playoff record is now 25-9. His 25 victories are 9 more than Joe Montana who ranks second.
The pre-game scuttlebutt around the pop princess focused on whether she would make a political statement during her halftime performance. She kicked off her performance with a few verses of “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land” before breaking into an array of hits, but never made any sort of anti-Trump or political statement.
Gaga was widely hailed for her performance and most felt she crushed it. Per usual, the NFL did not pay its halftime performer, but Gaga is still a big winner. She is expected to announce dates for her next world tour on Monday and her song catalog should see a big bump in downloads this week. Bruno Mars and Beyonce saw spikes of 92% and 59%, respectively, in music sales after their recent Super Bowl performances.
This game was setting up to be a disaster for Fox as the Falcons jumped out to a 25-point lead. The game had little buzz before Sunday as the Falcons have a limited national following and both teams played it close to the vest in the lead-up to the game. Ratings were ready to plummet before the Patriots began their epic comeback to send the game into overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history. Look for Super Bowl LI to deliver a big ratings number. It might not top the record average audience of 114.4 million from two years ago, but the Pats comeback delivered millions of viewers.
Belichick cemented his place as aruably the greatest coach in NFL history. He became the first head coach to win five Super Bowl titles and his 26-10 postseason record is the best for any coach with more than 10 playoff games on the sideline. His 26 playoff wins are six more than second-place Tom Landry.
Humor was lacking in this year's crop of ads as diversity and politically-tinged content was featured early on in the game. 84 Lumber got attention when its original ad was rejected by Fox for the controversial nature of the ad, which highlighted the hot-button immigration topic. The company ran an altered commercial during the game and had a six-minute version on its website, although the site crashed Sunday night.
Buick had one the best ads of the night featuring Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in a pee wee football game. Supermodel Miranda Kerr appeared in the ad that was funny and cute. Audi, Tide and Bai with Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken also got high marks for their commercials.
Who do you think the commissioner was rooting for during the Super Bowl? Goodell said; “It would be an honor” to hand the Lombardi Trophy to Brady and the Pats this week, but who was he kidding. The commissioner has made one public misstep after another in recent years and presenting the Lombardi Trophy on the dais to Robert Kraft is the latest public humiliation for the commissioner. The booing of Goodell during the trophy presentation was deafening. Goodell couldn’t pass the trophy off to Kraft fast enough as the commissioner ran off the stage.
The Falcons were in prime position to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history before the Pats dramatic comeback. The Falcons had the potential to be the night’s biggest winner because they open their new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium next year. The Falcons are in the process of selling season tickets, personal seat licenses, luxury suites and sponsorships for the new stadium.
A Super Bowl win would have boosted demand and pricing power for the franchise. The Patriots followed a similar pattern when they opened a new stadium after the franchise’s first Super Bowl win after the 2001 season. The Pats have sold out Gillette Stadium every game since the stadium opened in 2002 on their way to becoming the NFL’s second most valuable team worth $3.4 billion.
Alas, the run to the Super Bowl should still help the Falcons in their new stadium, but a Super Bowl win would have been that much bigger. The Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series win remains the only major sports championship for the city of Atlanta.
Ryan entered the postseason last month with a reputation as a choke artist thanks to losses in four of his first five playoff games during his career. Ryan helped change the narrative this year with an MVP Award and two playoff wins to put the Falcons in the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history. Ryan was brilliant Sunday night with a passer rating of 144, fourth highest in Super Bowl history (perfect is 158), but he had a crucial late fumble and took a brutal sack when his team needed a field goal to seal the game.
Ryan is still likely to be a big winner when all is said and done. His big 2016 season prompted his general manager to say he wanted to extend Ryan's contract sooner rather than later. Ryan will sign one of the richest contracts in NFL history, but a Super Bowl win on the resume would look a lot better when sitting at the negotiating table.
The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons square off Sunday night in the Super Bowl, and both starting quarterbacks have an opportunity to add to their respective legacies. Tom Brady is chasing a fifth Super Bowl title, which would be an NFL record for quarterbacks and further elevate his resume among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
It has been more than three years since Tom Brady and Matt Ryan squared off. The stakes are much higher than their 2013 regular season meeting (above). (Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Matt Ryan, who was crowned the regular season MVP Saturday night, is still trying to overcome his label of not delivering in the postseason in the eyes of many fans and talking heads. He lost first round playoff games in three of his first four seasons in the NFL and failed to have a passer rating of 75 in any of the games. But Ryan directed the NFL’s highest-scoring offense this year and has a chance to lead the Falcons to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history. A Falcons win would represent only the second ever major sports championship for the city of Atlanta with the Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series standing as the only title.
This year's Super Bowl teams have not met since a 30-23 New England victory in Atlanta in 2013, but Brady and Ryan have a history together (the Pats also won the one other meeting between the QBs in 2009). Brady and Ryan both talked this week about their relationship, which dates back to 2010 when the Pats and Falcons practiced against each other in training camp. “I’m always sending him texts over the course of the season and vice versa. I have a lot of respect for Matt. I like him a lot as a person, as a player, as a leader,” said Brady.
Here are the numbers you need to know about the starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl LI.
1: Brady had the highest sales of NFL licensed merchandise between March and November last year. Brady was tops for NFL jersey sales, college (Michigan) sales of men’s Nike jerseys and OYO toy figures. Ryan didn’t crack the top 50 overall.
3: Ryan was the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Brady was famously picked in the sixth round as the 199th pick in the 2000 draft and chosen after six other QBs.
6-foot-4: Both QBs are listed at the same height with Brady carrying eight more pounds at 225.
7: This is Brady’s seventh trip to the Super Bowl, a record for a quarterback. He’s won the Super Bowl MVP Award three times during his team’s four wins.
12: Pro Bowl selections for Brady. Ryan has been chosen four times.
13: Ryan threw touchdown passes to an NFL-record 13 different receivers this season.
14: Division titles for the Patriots with Brady under center, including 13 straight years (Brady missed the 2008 season when the Pats finished second).
15: Brady’s rank among the world’s highest-paid athletes with earnings of $44.1 million between June 2015 and June 2016. Ryan didn’t make the cut, but ranked No. 10 on the 2014 list after signing his latest Falcons’ deal.
24-9: Brady’s career playoff record. His 24 wins are eight more than second-ranked Joe Montana. Ryan's career playoff record is now 3-4 after two wins last month.
31: Ryan at 31 years old is eight years younger than Brady. Ryan said this week that he’d like to play as long as Brady. Brady has talked about playing until he is 45.
73%: Brady’s awareness level in the U.S., which is the highest among active NFL players, according to Nielsen Sports.
98.8: Ryan’s career playoff passer rating, fifth-highest all-time. Brady is No. 13 at 88.7
117.1: Ryan’s league-leading passer rating during the 2016 season. It was the fifth-highest all-time. Brady led the league twice during his career, including a 117.2 season in 2007.
$200: Cost of Brady’s cookbook/Nutritional Manuel released last year. It is currently sold out, but new orders are expected to ship later this month.
456: Career touchdown passes for Brady, fourth all-time. Ryan is No. 25 at 240.
-1000: Ryan was the overwhelming favorite to win the 2016 NFL regular season MVP Award with odds at 1/10. He was named MVP last night with 25 of the 50 votes by the media. Brady finished second with 10 votes. Brady won the award twice (2007, 2010).
$8 million: Brady’s estimated annual endorsement earnings from Under Armour, UGG Boots, Simmons Beautyrest and Tag Heuer.
$28 million: Signing bonus Brady received in a March 2016 contract extension. His base salary was cut from $9 million to $1 million, which saved Brady nearly $2 million in lost game checks when his four-game Deflategate suspension was upheld.
$103.8 million: Value of contract extension Ryan signed in 2013. He has two years left on the deal. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said this week he would look to extend Ryan again sooner rather than later.
$133.7 million: Ryan’s career earnings from the Falcons, according to Spotrac.
$196.2 million: Brady’s career NFL earnings, not including endorsements, rank second
among active players, behind only Eli Manning’s $205.8 million. Peyton Manning is the only player in NFL history to bank more than Brady and Eli.
$2.125 billion: Value of the Falcons. The club is in the middle of selling tickets, sponsorships and luxury suites for its new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium set to open next season. A Super Bowl win would bolster those efforts.
$3.4 billion: Value of the Patriots, second highest in the NFL. The team was worth $460 million, ranked No. 5 in the NFL, before Brady was drafted.
Three years ago, technology services conglomerate Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) opened an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that was unlike any of their other offices in the world: It had an all-female workforce. Former Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry explains the reason for this workforce decision: “The Tata Group has a long history of encouraging women to achieve their potential and contribute to the community.” In 2016, rival Wipro followed suit. “Over 50% of the university graduates in Saudi Arabia are women and the aim is to increase the participation of women in the workforce to 30%,” says Soumitro Ghosh, president of the India and Middle East Markets at Wipro.
But altruism, of course, is not the only motivator. As Saudi Arabia shifts towards a digital economy from one dominated by oil exports – especially with oil prices staying stagnant — it is waking up to the value of contributions by women. “In the past few years, the Kingdom has been focused on a transformative journey, one in which it aims to move from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based economy,” says Amal Fatani, head of the All-Women Business Process Services and IT Center in Saudi Arabia. “One of the key enablers of this transformation will be increased participation of women in the private sector and the involvement of organizations in paving the way for the same.”
Adds Ghosh: “We are looking at supporting the Kingdom and aligning closely with [the country’s] Vision 2030 and the national transformation program where diversification of the economy and employment of Saudi women are key priorities. These are early days and we are building the funnel, which looks reasonable as of now and is growing at a reasonable pace.” Wipro expects to create nearly 20,000 jobs for Saudi women over a 10-year period. TCS says its all-female office is now 1,000 strong but started with 20 female employees and two anchor customers — GE and Saudi Aramco, who are TCS’ partners in the venture.
The one-gender office is their solution around cultural practices in Saudi Arabia, where men and women cannot work together unless they are closely related. They also often use separate entrances. Recently, a KFC outlet in Riyadh was closed down when a crack appeared on the wall between the men’s and ladies’ sections. Also, most women find it difficult to get jobs even though they are actively encouraged to get an education.
Thus, the solution to employing more women, at least for now, is to have an all-female office. This is an important step toward true equality. “If history is any guide, getting more women into the workplace in Saudi Arabia will be necessary before gender equality measures are put in place,” says Janice Bellace, Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. “But the speed at which this will happen is impossible to predict.”
“Getting more women into the workplace in Saudi Arabia will be necessary before gender equality measures are put in place.”–Janice BellaceWhile gender equality goes far further than offering more jobs to women, at least it mutes criticism from religious authorities on the mingling of men and women. And when foreign companies such as TCS and Wipro change their employment practices to cater to a country’s culture, it can speak volumes. “I think it does have an effect when a foreign company does something in response to the peculiarities of a home country’s culture or laws. If nothing else, it helps point out the absurdity of those practices,” says Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli.
Oil Price Drop Prompts Changes
Economic realities are prompting Saudi Arabia’s leaders to rethink their financial strategies, which has spilled over to cultural practices around women. “Historically, Saudi Arabia has relied on revenues from oil exports for over 90% of its budget,” says Bellace. However, oil prices have been in a slump because of increased global supply, particularly due to U.S. shale oil, highlighting the need to review the nation’s budget. Vision 2030, unveiled in March, aims to wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil — especially since petroleum has paid for many benefits.
“The citizens of Saudi Arabia have become accustomed to generously subsidized health care, education and other key items such as gasoline,” Bellace says. “One way for the government to trim expenditure is to reduce the extent of subsidization. Another way is to increase the productivity of its adult population. At present, the labor force participation rate of women is extremely low, only 10%. Yet, females are well-educated, comprising 60% of university students.”
Ironically, TCS and Wipro are promoting equality in Saudi Arabia when India itself could improve its own gender parity performance. India’s Bharatiya Mahila Bank was set up in 2013 to cater to female account holders and it was run by female staff. But the bank failed; mounting losses led to its proposed merger with the State Bank of India. In 2007, British banking giant Standard Chartered opened an all-female branch in Kolkata, India to much fanfare, but there has been no news about it since then.
“These are among the few examples we have of such initiatives,” whether they failed or not, says diversity consultant Nirmala Menon, founder and CEO of Interweave Consulting. U.S. power systems manufacturer “Cummins has an all-women assembly unit near Pune (India). There is another manufacturing unit in Madhya Pradesh, which has only women employees. They are from backgrounds where they cannot be seen in public wearing their factory uniforms. These are organizations that are looking to meet practical needs so women can be in the game. As a way to get women [to participate more in] economic activity, these are very welcome initiatives.”
“The labor force participation rate of women is extremely low, only 10%. Yet, females are well-educated, comprising 60% of university students.”–Janice Bellace
Cappelli adds that there is a “continuum of issues” in equality. “A century ago, it was about getting the right to vote, then about getting the right to certain jobs. The bigger issues come first, and in countries with more inequality, those issues are already dealt with, so they move onto other issues.” He notes that IBM once operated in Japan with a workforce that was heavily female, “in part because discrimination against women in Japan at the time made it easier to attract top-flight talent to a foreign company.”
Impact of Women-only Workplaces
The big question is whether women-only workplaces cause more divisions rather than break down walls. “Probably not, if the experience of other countries is any guide,” says Bellace. “Women have to be in the labor force before there is a widespread movement complaining about the lack of gender equality. This is the experience of Western countries. In many, the widespread movement for women to be granted voting rights occurred during or after major wars, as women went to work and took men’s places in factories.”
Bellace adds that in most countries, including the U.S. and U.K., the first demand by women was for equal pay, not for equal opportunity. “Women in factories, where jobs were sex-segregated, realized they were earning a lot less than equally skilled men. Once the pay issue is settled, women’s attention turns to the issue of access to higher-paying ‘male’ jobs.”
While developments in Saudi Arabia for working women are welcome changes, the experience of other countries shows that it will take a while for gender equality to take hold. In the U.S., the call for equal pay was heard during World Wars I and II, but it wasn’t until 1963 before equal pay for both genders became law.
One unfortunate trend many media companies and retailers seem to share these days is a declining audience or customer base. In thisopinion piece, author and branding expertDenise Lee Yohn explains that despite lower in-store sales, some retailers are blazing successful new marketing trails that engage customers and improve the bottom line. Media companies could learn from these new models. Yohn is author of the book, What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest. She is also the former general manager of brand and strategy for Sony Electronics, and former marketing leader and analyst for Jack in the Box restaurants and Spiegel catalogs.
After Medium’s founder and CEO Ev Williams recently announced that the company was laying off a third of its staff and moving away from an ad-driven business model, many suggested that the online publisher needed to figure out a better way to monetize content. But it’s unlikely that trying to do so will yield an effective or sustainable solution. A more viable approach would be for Medium to adopt a role as a “retailer” of content.
Others have tried to monetize content and have generated only limited success because attaching a value to content tries to solve the wrong problem. The media industry faces disruptive forces that cannot be addressed by thinking about content — or readers, publishers, channels and advertisers — in the same way and just trying to do more in a better way. Media needs to undergo a fundamental transformation. Instead, Medium and other media channels struggling with generating sustained revenue can derive better solutions by thinking like a retailer and learning lessons derived from the transformation of the retail industry.
Consider the following parallels between the media and retail industries. Media channels are like stores — venues through which customers (readers) access products (content). Just like retailers, media companies have long prided themselves in providing access to quality products, but, also like retailers, most products have become commoditized so quality no longer sustains demand or provides enough differentiation.
The similarities between media and retail extend to other parties in their business models. In media, advertisers are like real estate owners and brokers. They’re usually more concerned with productivity of space and quantity of traffic (eyeballs and clicks) and less with the quality and sustainability of relationships with shoppers (audiences). Media channels, like retailers, seem beholden to these stakeholders whose strong financial orientation further strain the effectiveness of competing on quality content.
“Media channels struggling with generating sustained revenue can derive better solutions by thinking like a retailer.”
Writers and publishers are like product manufacturers in the retail industry in that most want to “sell” as much “product” as possible — that is, get as many readers or viewers of their content as possible. In recent years, some product manufacturers have taken more responsibility for customer relationships and taken on the role of a retailer (either in the physical or digital world), as some writers maintain their own blogs or cultivate their own followers, but most still rely on retailers to facilitate product exposure and delivery. Writers and publishers may be producing a quality product, but if the channel doesn’t draw readers in, their impact is limited.
Ultimately this analogy points to media channels like Medium as retailers. And just as retailers have had to dramatically change in order to remain viable in the new reality of e-commerce, channels must undergo a fundamental transformation in order to thrive in the current media environment.
Retailers used to be valued for providing access to quality products. Foot traffic was the measure of success and companies like Walmart were hailed for getting as many people through their doors as possible. But retailers have learned that quantity of traffic doesn’t necessarily translate into quality of customer relationship, and media channels are discovering that large numbers of eyeballs don’t guarantee valuable user engagement (Medium had 60 million monthly visitors, according to Digital Trends). Now, in retail and in media, the most successful ones design and deliver valuable experiences.
The innovations that progressive retailers have introduced suggest opportunities for media companies, including the following strategies:
Offer services. Beauty products chain Ulta offers not only retail products but also salon services; retailer J. Crew’s ‘Very Personal Stylists’ provide personal shopping appointments and help track hard-to-find items. Likewise, media services could include personally curated collections, research, access to sources, archiving and more.
Personalization. From the algorithm of personal style service Stitch Fix to Target’s predictive analytics, retailers have learned to use data and technology to customize their offerings to specific customers’ needs and wants. Media could commission content based on specific readers’ interests and deliver it based on their personal time, channel and format preferences.
Facilitate community. Athletic clothing retailer Lululemon hosts events, deploys brand ambassadors, and creates exclusive products to make their customers feel as if they’re not just buying a brand, they’re joining a community of like-minded friends. Media could facilitate communities of writers, readers, editors, and subject matter experts who collectively create, consume, and advance content.
Deliver omnichannel. Sporting goods chain REI breaks down organizational silos to ensure consistent pricing, communication, product availability and seamless service across all channels. Media could enable customers to read, watch, or hear content seamlessly on multiple devices, in various formats, through new distribution methods.
Become more interactive, entertaining and stimulating. Customers like to hang out in Apple Stores and Wegmans grocery stores because they offer multi-dimensional, sensorial and engaging experiences. Media could stage in-person events, offer interactive experiences and create rich engagement.
Media companies still have plenty of opportunities to create unique value and retain their viability as businesses, but doing so requires some important changes. Just as retailers serve two customers — vendors and shoppers — media can no longer cater to advertisers and content producers alone. Medium earned a reputation as one of the best channels for writers because of the tools and interface it offered to them, and as a desired partner for publishers because of the advertising reach and support it delivered to them.
Media companies “must do more than simply provide access to quality content; they must deliver extraordinary customer experiences.”
For readers, however, the ease of publishing that Medium offered resulted in a lot of mediocre content and the reader interface offered little help in navigating through it. It also neglected features like the ability to read articles offline on its mobile app. If it had operated with a retail customer orientation, it would have delivered the same level of innovation and quality standards to its readers as it did to its suppliers.
Medium isn’t the only media company that needs to adopt a different philosophy. The industry must start treating readers and viewers as customers with whom valuable, sustained relationships must be pursued. And they must do more than simply provide access to quality content; they must deliver extraordinary customer experiences. In fact, they need to learn what today’s leading retailers now know: The most valuable product they deliver is actually the experience.
People reward great retailers with their brand loyalty, reviews and recommendations, and in many cases willingness to pay a premium. These outcomes are exactly what media needs now — and they can produce them if they’re willing to re-think what business they’re in.