It’s Not Personal, It’s Business

PREPAREDNESS / During eight years in the NFL, my favorite opponent was the Oakland Raiders. Playing the silver and black was a fight to the finish, literally! If the Raiders could not beat the Chiefs by scoring more points, they would change tactics and use their “Sunday Punch.” This “Sunday Punch” involved getting inside their opponents heads. At first, they began by picking fights and taunting and finally they move into aggressive and devious methods of torment.

Brad Budde - Black EyesFrom the age of 6, my mother and I looked forward to the great games of the Raiders and Chiefs. We had front row seats from which we could witness my father’s memorable battles against the Raiders. Years later, when I took over for my father as the starting left guard for the Kansas City Chiefs, the history of the bad-blood rivalry between the Chiefs and Raiders continued for another generation. It was during one of these battles, a mêlée broke out and my nose was rearranged.

The fight occurred in the first half when the Chiefs were in control of the game. I was blocking my opponent when I received a hit from behind, and with zero thought, I retaliated. After chasing down the individual who hit me, I defended myself with my fists and the entire offensive line came to my defense resulting in a “Dirty Harry” brawl which stopped the game for 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I was the catalyst that caused my team to loose focus and much worse; our discipline broke down, changing the momentum of the game. This event was a game changer and in the second half, the Raiders rallied to win.

Successful professionals are not perfect; but they do not make the same mistake twice. Our final season game would determine which team would win a playoff birth and the Chiefs once again would meet the Raiders. The Chiefs Coaches designed a new game plan meant to ensure our team would not be repeating our undisciplined behavior. During our week of preparation, each position coach rehearsed with each of his players, practicing over and over, how to respond when we are enraged. The scenarios involved facing provocation; our coaches taught us to park our feelings at the door and demanded that we shift from self to team. Coaches stated, “Attacks are not personal but rather, they are strategic.”


Announcers questioned our preparations and our ability to win. Once again, the Chiefs scored early and once again the Raiders attacked with the confidence that they could defeat us mentally. One Raider All-Pro Defensive lineman spit in our tight ends face and taunted him. He did not flinch and our team mirrored his response. Our trained team focus took over and walking back to the huddle our tight end wiped the spit from his face. We faced each other knowing we had changed. This knowledge empowered us with a newfound respect and confidence. We defeated the Raiders earning a playoff spot and vindicating ourselves. Self-control and discipline are a choice, not a natural response for competitors. One must implement his action plan and perform the way he has been trained. Victory, as well as self respect, is your great reward.

2 Replies to It’s Not Personal, It’s Business

  1. Brad,
    I wanted to contact you after I saw you on T.V. being inducted to what I thought was the College Hall of Fame. I want to personally congratulate you on such a prestigious accomplishment. I am so proud to be a friend of yours and you are so very deserving of the many accolades you have received throughout the years. I mentioned to a friend today when I saw your E-Mail that Brad was a great football player but, what most people don’t know is that he is even a better person who is built for others and not for himself. You have given so much back and I know that is a result of your respect for the game and your willingness to reach out to others to offer what ever it takes to help.
    I am still hanging in there as the coach @ Laguna Hills and if you are ever in the area I would love to see you and have you speak to the team. Your experience, wisdom, and inspiring comments always help motivate the players and myself. Great hearing from and again congratulations.

  2. Brad Budde says:

    Hey Bruce

    Great to hear from you.

    Your kind words meant alot.

    I would be happy to meet with your team in the coming months.


Leave a Reply