TaylorCarr.com My buddy Laird – Super Bowl MVP!

My buddy Laird – Super Bowl MVP!

Posted in Featured Post, Sports on Monday, February 6th, 2012 at 11:32 pm 1 Comments

It was the biggest call of his career, and Laird Hayes got it right. Hayes is the NFL side judge who made the call on Mario Manningham’s amazing catch in the Super Bowl. (Next time you see the replay, look for Hayes – #125.)

Laird Hayes watches Mario Manningham make one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history.

It’s a stretch to call him a close friend, but through a college buddy of his I’ve gotten to know Laird a little over the last few years. On his last two trips to Phoenix I’ve tagged along on his crew’s Saturday night dinners – quite a treat for a lifelong NFL fan and a guy who recognizes that officials in all sports take way too much heat.

Anyway, Hayes was working his third Super Bowl in a 17-year NFL career, and he had about half a second to decide if Manningham had possession of the ball and both feet in bounds. Perfectly positioned, he got the call right, as the (literally) 10 replays on NBC confirmed. The 38-yard play helped set up the Giants game-winning drive, and as Chris Collinsworth noted on the TV broadcast, “for the next 50 years you’ll be watching highlights of that catch.”

I sometimes talk about NFL officials in my communication classes. Of the major sports leagues, the NFL does the best job of giving its officials clear, unambiguous and useful feedback. Every play of every game is critiqued, and all seven on-field officials get a written review from the league within two days of every game.

Business leaders can learn a lesson about providing such useful and consistent feedback. Like the guys wearing the stripes, employees want to know where they stand too. That always leads to some interesting class discussions about the best ways to offer criticism and start a dialogue about performance. I try to make a strong case that the NFL is on to something with the way it blends clarity, immediacy and consistency when communicating with officials.

One of the many TV replay angles of Laird Hayes' critical 4th quarter call in Super Bowl XLVI.

Just hours after the game, Mike Pereira, the former Vice President of Officiating for the NFL and now Fox Sports’ officiating guru, wrote that his Super Bowl MVP was Laird Hayes. Now that was an easy call.

(Here’s a link to Pereira’s article: Greatest Call in Super Bowl Historyhttp://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/super-bowl-xlvi-mario-manningham-laird-hayes-eli-manning-sideline-catch-referee-call-right-020512)

1 Comments to “My buddy Laird – Super Bowl MVP!”

  1. Maureen says:

    Well written and interesting article!

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