NGU Mantra
By Anthony Lanzillo on Feb 8, 2017

As I was watching the Super Bowl, and saw the Atlanta Falcons storm ahead by 28-3, I was wondering how the opposing quarterback and the rest of his team would handle the pressure of being behind by 25 points. And, then after the New England Patriots came back to win the game in overtime, I thought about what it took for the Patriots and their quarterback to hold onto the NGU Mantra and keep themselves in that game for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. This mantra, which we so often hear in sports, is “Never Give Up”.

There is no better example of the NGU Mantra, or “Never Give Up”, in sports than what happened on Sunday evening. And, if we look at the quarterback for the Patriots, and listen to his story as he prepared for that game, we can clearly see an athlete who had reached his mental peak and possibly played one of the best games of his career. Tom Brady could be the mentally strongest and toughest NFL quarterback whom I have watched and witnessed in the past 20 years.

For Tom Brady, there were various elements to his game about not giving up on himself or his team. First, Brady had several things to play for that were bigger than himself. From his love for his teammates to dedicating the game to his mother, the quarterback was driven by more than his self-interest. Second, Brady was able to use the challenges and adversity of being behind on the scoreboard as mental ammunition to motivate himself and his teammates to keep playing until the final whistle. Third, Brady seems to have not only a mental tenacity but maybe more importantly a mental elasticity to get his head around difficult situations, and mentally figure out how to effectively turn those situations around.

From playing in the present moment to keeping one’s poise, from playing with passion and perseverance, and from playing with a sense of purpose and the right perspective, Brady has definitely reached the mental peak. He has reminded all of us who coach and play sports how important the mental game is in sports. It is in developing your mental game and learning how to reach your mental peak that you give yourself the best opportunity to excel in sports as well as in your personal lives.

Maybe, one of the best lessons that we can take away from sports, and use in our personal lives, is “Never Give Up”. The NGU Mantra is a very powerful message that can help us keep the faith, fuel our desire and drive to reach our goals, and to always take another step to elevate our game. For one evening, we watched a quarterback and a team illustrate how to embrace that message and mission.

Anthony Lanzillo is a regular contributor to the FirstDown PlayBook Community site and also has created a mental preparation tool for athletes called The Mental Tune-Up. It is a great tool and resource for getting your players to make a commitment to becoming mentally stronger and tougher. If you would like more information on this tool, drop Anthony an email at risson1954@gmail. He has designed this process for 30, 60 or 90 days. Check out his website here at