For the coin toss of the Super Bowl 48 (or XLVIII), the referee, Terry McAulay, handed the coin to Joe Namath to toss it… it appeared that McAulay realized when the coin was in mid-air that he had possibly forgotten to ask the Seahawks to call it. Oops!
Failing to stop Namath, McAulay caught the coin in mid-air and then asked the Seahawks, as the visiting team, to call it — letting Namath then toss it again. You can also watch this on YouTube.
All we know from watching the video is that a mistake was made. Things didn't go the way they were supposed to — but why?
As we say in the Lean management philosophy, be hard on the process, not the people.
It goes to show we are all human. I'm sure the coin toss is practiced and rehearsed. They didn't have a checklist out there, but it might have been useful. McAulay went through most of what he was supposed to say, but not all of it. It reminds me of the first time President Obama was sworn in and Chief Justice John Roberts screwed up (I mean, there was a process problem).
Whether it's a coin toss, an inauguration, or surgery at a hospital — all the practice in the world can't prevent a mistake from happening in the heat of the moment if somebody gets nervous or there's a distraction.
The first coin toss is what we'd call a “defect” in the Lean terminology. That led to “rework” for the referee and Namath.
Rather than blaming the referee (or blaming Namath), the NFL should look at the process — what caused this to happen? What can they do to prevent it in the future?
At least it wasn't as bad as this classic coin toss mix-up on Thanksgiving Day a few years back. Thankfully, what happened today was only mildly embarrassing and didn't affect the game.
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