Storytelling and the super bowl

Super Bowls provide real-time inspiration and proof to the power of storytelling. Every Super Bowl has multiple stories about the players, teams, owners  and others involved in the journey to THE event!

In particular Super Bowl 46  had all the elements of a great story.   Two rival quarterbacks (characters) once again pitted against each other. Tom Brady one of the best QB’s in the league meets his nemesis Eli Manning, little brother of QB great Peyton Manning.

The plot…a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl where Manning defeated Brady.

There was much speculation over the talent between the two; Brady a 5 star QB, against Eli Manning who is always overshadowed by the greatness of his big brother, QB Peyton Manning.  Was Eli good enough, was 2008 a fluke?  This Super Bowl was Brady’s for the taking.

The Cinderella arrival of the New York Giants.

More fuel for the conflict was the Super Bowl 46 Cinderella arrival of the New York Giants.  Half-way thru the season the Giants were at the bottom of the pack.

The back stories.

And there were back stories. Myra Kraft wife  of Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s wife died just before the start of the season. Beloved by all, the team honored her memory with a jersey patch carrying her initials, MHK.   In addition to putting the 2008 Super Bowl loss to rest, they wanted to win for Myra.

And of course  the Hollywood like glamor of Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen.  Known not only for their good looks, Gisele is a fierce supporter of her husband and lets the world know.

Tension builds as the story reaches the climax.

And of course the climax of the story, right down to the last second of the game it could go either way.  With only 3 points separating them, could Brady pull out an upset and win his 4th Super Bowl? No.


A valiant effort, a great pass…but it was dropped and that ended the game.  The Patriot locker room is blanketed in quiet reflection.  The fans ache with pain and sorrow.

The Prince and fans live happily ever after.

Eli Manning and the New York Giants had won the game.  As the fans screamed with joy, Eli was named the MVP and happily drove away in his brand new corvette.

Yes, Super Bowl XLVI (46) had all the elements of a great story.

What Makes a Great Story

In his book Tell to Win, master storyteller Peter Gruber  says:

Stories are not lists, decks, Power-Points, flip charts, lectures, pleas, instructions, regulations, manifestos, calculations, lesson plans, threats, statistics, evidence, orders or raw facts.

What’s the essential difference?  Non-stories may give information, but stories have a unique power to move people’s hearts, minds, feet and wallets in the story teller’s intended direction.

Story Telling Leads to Profits

So did the story of Super Bowl 46 move people’s hearts, minds, feet and wallets?

Consider this:

  • Over 100 million viewers tuned in, making it one of the largest television events in history
  • Commercials cost $3.6 million for 30 seconds or $120,000 a second
  • Commercial spots were snapped up in an instant due to the story that would generate a huge interest and ultimately a huge viewing crowd
  • NFL Team Merchandise continues to fly out the door, generating millions and by some estimates billions for the League, teams, stores and manufacturers
  • Players salaries continue to rise
  • And too many more to list here

Story telling is powerful.  What authentic stories can you tell that speak to the hopes and dreams of your clients and prospects? How can you use storytelling to reach their hearts, minds, feet and wallets?