(Photo credit: ESPN)

Last night’s football game holds a lesson no dreamer can afford to ignore.

I grew up in Massachusetts, so I naturally grew up rooting for the Patriots.

Last night on Monday night football, they lost on a last second play. One of the Carolina players held one of the New England players in the end zone. No would argue he was not playing the ball and had his back turned to the play. A penalty flag was thrown by the referee closest to the play and then reversed by a referee 25 yards away.

Here’s what experts are saying about the call:

“the ball would have landed somewhere between a foot and a yard from the feet of Gronkowski” – Peter King, CNNSI

“Since the flag was thrown they should have stayed with the call. There was clear contact before the ball was intercepted” – Fox Sports rules expert, Mike Pereira

“The pass interference starts four yards deep in the end zone, and that’s where the ball ends up being thrown … It should be a penalty on Kuechly.” Jon Gruden

Could the 6 foot 5 Gronk have closed the 1 yard, maybe 1.5 yard, gap between him and the ball even though his momentum was clearly carrying him away? Maybe. Maybe not.

There’s a lot of argument to be had that the referees cost the Patriots the game, but you know what?

They didn’t.

The referees didn’t lose that game, the Patriots did.


Because you should never leave the final play in the hands of the referees. You know what games the refs don’t decide? The ones where you win by 35 points.

They have no power in those situations. The refs didn’t lose the game. Not tackling an amazing Cam Newton lost the game. Fumbling cost the game. Not completing passes cost the game. Letting the Panthers beat you cost the game.

As you chase your dream, there are going to be situations where it will be easy to let the “refs” control the game. For some people, money is a ref. Your entire dream depends on getting the next check or the whole thing is going to crumble. For some people, one client is the ref. Your entire career depends on them and it doesn’t matter that they treat you horribly. They control the game. For some people, one developer is a ref. If he doesn’t update the blog on time you lose.

There are a thousand refs in life.

Don’t let them control the outcome.

Win games (and dreams) by 35. Save up for a rainy day. Fire the bad client. Kick the lazy developer to the curb.

Hustle so hard your dream doesn’t depend on the last play of the day.