What do you do when the odds are stacked against you? When time’s running out and the effort seems too much and you’re tired and you just want to go home?
Most of us would pack it in. Call it a day. Fall back on the procrastinator’s mantra: “There’s always tomorrow.”
Not Taylor Heinicke.
He’s an NFL quarterback, fighting for a spot on the Minnesota Vikings’ roster and dealing with an injury to his right oblique muscle. That’s a big deal for any NFL quarterback, let alone a long shot who’s fighting for his professional life.
And with less than a minute to go in the Vikings’ third preseason game of the year, Heinicke said, “Screw it. Let’s go for broke.”
With about 8 minutes to play, the Vikings trailed the San Francisco 49ers by 14 points. Second-string quarterback Case Keenum engineered a touchdown drive to bring the Vikings to within 7 points. Then Heinicke entered the game.
With time running out, Heinicke — gimpy, sore, and barely able to turn from one side to the other — completed a couple of clutch passes, then took the snap and handed the ball to running back Terrell Newby, who scored from one yard out with no time remaining to bring the Vikings within one point, 31-30.
NFL rules permit a team that scores with no time on the clock to run one more play, in an effort to tie or win the game. Rather than kicking an extra point to tie the game, the Vikings decided to go for a two-point conversion to win it.
Heinicke took the snap, looked left for a receiver and, seeing none, sprinted right for the end zone. With the 49ers’ defense closing in, he dove for the right pylon — injury be damned — and scored with inches to spare.
Vikings win, 32-31.
It was a moment of fleeting glory. A week later, Heinicke was cut from the Vikings’ final regular season roster and was out of a job.
Still, with time running out and when the odds were longest, he delivered an improbable victory … and an important life lesson for us all.
“How many times have we been in the same scenario in our own lives, with our businesses, with our clients, and said, ‘There are only two minutes left. Let’s pack up and go home,’” said Sue Hawkes, a certified EOS implementer and a devoted Vikings fan who told that story to a recent gathering of fellow EOS implementers in Detroit. “What’s sometimes hard to see in those situations is, when there’s time, there’s hope.”
Boiling it down even further, we arrive at this:
Don’t ever give up.