Last year, the team that had that record was the Jaguars division rival, Indianapolis Colts. After coming off a 14-2 season, the Colts lost their franchise quarterback for the season, and ended up with the worst record of any NFL team in the 2011 season. Despite the fact that he had led the team to the playoffs the season before, the 2-14 record was enough to get the Colts head coach, Jim Caldwell, fired. So, the Colts started looking for a new head coach. One of the candidates they were pursuing was Chuck Pagano, the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. The only issue was that the Ravens were in the playoffs, so the Colts had to wait to interview Coach Pagano.
The Ravens made it all the way to the AFC Championship, where they would face the New England Patriots. But, for the Colts, time was running out to find a head coach, as they needed to be sure they had the proper staffing in place. The AFC Championship game was intense. A dropped touchdown down and a missed field goal ended the Ravens season in defeat and they were crushed. However, it meant that the Colts could talk to Chuck Pagano and they ended up hiring him as their new head coach.
This past weekend, the Colts faced the Ravens in the first round of the 2012 NFL playoffs. When asked how he felt about the previous year’s defeat in the AFC Championship, Coach Pagano talked about how tough that loss was to swallow, but he went on to say that had it not been for that loss, he would not have been able to become the head coach of the Colts. His words really spoke to me. Sometimes, we focus so hard on the losses that we do not realize that they can be worked out for our good.
If you don’t follow football, there are many examples in the Bible of much more devastating losses than a football game. Think of Job losing all of his family, finances, and fitness. Think of Joseph being thrown in a pit, and then, going to prison. Even though they lost and they had major disappointments, in the end, they gained so much more because God was with them and they were faithful.
Now, if you know the story of Coach Pagano, you may know that he was diagnosed with cancer this season. You may ask how someone could consider that a victory. Well, for Coach Pagano, it did turn out to be a victory. With his family, his team and his community’s support, he went through grueling treatments for his cancer and he beat it. He never gave up. He hung in there and he inspired many people along the way.
Sometimes, we have to lose so we can win. I’m not going to sit here and write that it doesn’t hurt or that it doesn’t suck. But, when we consider that everything is in God’s control and He has the ability to work every loss into a win, it is hard to stay bitter or discouraged. This year, when Coach Pagano came back to coach his team in the playoffs, he had a completely different perspective when they lost. And, we have to learn how to use our losses, our obstacles, our setbacks as stepping stones. God uses the losses to get us to the wins if we will submit to His will and let Him work, the losses in life help us prepare for the battles we are meant to win. They make us stronger, smarter, and more serious, so that we can be victorious! Ms. EV