From Underdog to Champion
What can the New York Jets teach you about getting out of debt?
The New York Jets never had a chance—or so said the experts.
Going into Super Bowl III in 1969, the AFL Champion Jets had scrapped their way through the playoffs and a 9-5 regular season record to reach the league’s premier game. But all of that hard work landed them the reward of having to face the juggernaut Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl.
The Jets entered the game as an 18-point underdog. The Colts had finished the season 13-1, having won 10 games in a row going into the Super Bowl (four wins were by shutout) and coming off a 34-0 victory over Cleveland. Some media considered Baltimore the greatest pro football team ever.
But within a few hours, the New York Jets made football history by shocking the Colts 16-7. In an iconic NFL image, “Broadway Joe” Namath trotted off the field after the game and pointed to the sky with his index finger to signal, “We’re number one.” Forty-one years later, the game is still considered to be the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.
So, you’re probably asking yourself, what does Super Bowl III have to do with Dave Ramsey? Good question.
Many people who get started on the Dave Ramsey program are up against some kind of obstacle. These obstacles come in the form of credit card bills, student loans, car payments and overbearing mortgages.
The numbers vary by person. For some people, a $5,000 credit card balance may seem like a hole they will never get out of. Other people are up against $100,000 of student loan debt, battling depression and considering bankruptcy.
These people may think they don't have a chance to overcome these financial obstacles. Like the New York Jets from Super Bowl III, they feel like underdogs.
Good underdogs have one thing in common—they are scrappy, self-motivated people who never quit. If the Jets walked on that field and believed they couldn’t win, then the Colts would have beaten them senseless. In order to win, they had to believe they could win.
If you want to get out of debt, you have to believe you can get out of debt. That belief will come when you sit down and make a gameplan for your money.
NFL teams don’t make it to the Super Bowl by flying by the seat of their pants during the season. Earning a trip to the Super Bowl is a long process that starts back in film rooms, training sessions, strategy meetings—long before pre-season even begins.
When it comes to your money, you’ve got to sit down monthly—with your spouse or accountability partner—and map out your plan for that month. If you’re in debt, you’ve got to make a point to create a debt snowball and be precise about following it.
Mark a date on your calendar when you know everything is going to be paid off. Once you gain momentum and start throwing extra money at your debt snowball, you’ll be out of debt even sooner than your goal!
Along the way, you’re going to have doubters, but don’t underdogs always have nay-sayers? People and “friends” may make fun of your trimmed-down lifestyle—no eating out every night, no overpriced cars, no vacations on credit, no electronic toys you can’t afford.
But just let all of these doubts add fuel to your fire. You’re living like no one else now, so you can truly live like no one else later. You’re going to make the sacrifices today—consider this your “two-a-day” practices in 95-degree summer heat—but the payoff will be a life with financial peace and without debt. Eventually, you’re going to win your own personal Super Bowl on the day you yell that you are debt-free!
So take a lesson from the New York Jets—the underdog can be a champion after all.