Compliance, the Middle-Finger Malfunction, and the Reluctant Touchdown

It’s sad day in Boston. We’ve become accustomed to winning and the Super Bowl drought continues for at least another year. There were two compliance-related stories that came out of Super Bowl XLVI.

The first was singer M.I.A.’s obscene gesture and expletive during the halftime show. After Janet Jackson’s nipple-gate incident eight years ago, you would think the network would keep a finger close to the censor button during halftime. Perhaps they were too closely following Madonna and forgot about the other performers.

Madonna hasn’t been controversial for two decades. Others on the half-time show stage have been known to do and say things that would violate network standards.

The second compliance-related incident was the reluctant touchdown by Ahmad Bradshaw as time was winding down in the fourth quarter. Was his job to score touchdown? or to help his team win? usually, those goals are aligned.

By scoring that touchdown, he gave his team the lead, but also gave Tom Brady more time to mount a comeback. (A comeback that failed. ) If Bradshaw had managed to sit down on the 1 yard line, the Giants would be able to burn more time off the clock and just have to make a relatively easy field goal.

The Patriots had a similar problem. Rarely is a defense called up to let the opposing team score.

Even firms where conflicts of interest are well managed need to realize that sometimes the alignment of interests breaks down. Sometimes, doing the right thing for the organization is different from what you are used to doing.