Sports make a great microcosm to understand life. That is why so many young children are encouraged to play because of the transferable skills that they learn by playing their respective games. Therefore, as our political elites attempt to “resolve” the fiscal cliff there is one important lesson they should learn from sports. After all the economics of the fiscal cliff is not the problem. Of course those are bad, but those are symptoms. The problem is the lack of leadership. The symptom that is the Fiscal Cliff grows out of this leadership crisis gripping the nation. By paying attention to the importance of leadership perhaps the elites can make the adjustments to resolve the crisis of leadership that has given us the fiscal cliff.
As Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take constantly says “A head coach in the NFL doesn’t need to coach but needs to be a leader of men.” He and his co-host, Skip Bayless, attribute this important characteristic to Mike Tomlin head coach of the Pittsburg Steelers. And there is very little reason to actually wonder why that is the case.
After losing the starting quarterback, the Steelers suffered to bad loses to division rivals. Everyone expected a repeat of these events last Sunday when the Steelers went to play archrival Baltimore on the road, especially considering that the Ravens were one of the division rivals who beat them in devastating stretch. But Tomlin showed why he is a great leader. He instilled toughness in his team that went on the road and dashed the Ravens. He has positioned his Steelers to capture another AFC North title, in a very competitive division.
The leadership of Tomlin, who has been questioned for football calls, has proven to be a deciding factor in the fate of the Steelers. His leadership is what will determine the outcome of Pittsburgh season.
This can be transferred to politics. America does not necessarily need a genius. We do not need someone who knows economics through and through. What the political elites need to do is provide leadership. Like Tomlin’s Steelers, America is in omnishambles. But he led his team out of trouble. That is what America is missing. We need a leader to make America believe that it can do more than it is doing now. We need a motivating pep talk to rally around. America needs someone to inspire the nation to go forth and fix the problem of the fiscal cliff.
We can take on a few marginal symptoms of the fiscal cliff but that will not move America in the right direction. Just like the government shutdown turned into the debt ceiling which in turn developed into the current fiscal cliff, hacking away at the margins will just delay solving the actual problem. Therefore, let us move past the economics and find someone to actually step up and lead. Like the Steelers, we can put ourselves in position to win if we had someone to lead.
For the record, I hate the Steelers. But you cannot watch football and not appreciate what Mike Tomlin has done during his tenure with the Steelers. He makes a great case study for the importance of leadership. If only our elites would pay attention…