With football season underway, I’ve been thinking a lot about the parallels between the sport and retirement, specifically legacy building. In today’s game, there’s no quarterback with a greater legacy than Tom Brady. Forgive me, Falcons fans, but it’s true, and we know it better than most.

What makes Brady—or any top quarterback—so great? The easy answer is winning. Stats are important, but can be misleading. Winning is the difference maker, especially on the biggest stage. The thing is, winning isn’t coincidental. In general, there are rarely any flukes, even if it seems that way. When a player like Tom Brady wins it’s always intentional, something that he controls.

Well, the stage doesn’t get bigger than our life, our future, and our legacy. So, what really makes the Tom Brady and Joe Montana-types so great? Why have they been able to win and keep winning?

They click with the head coach.

Brady and Belichick, Montana and Bill Walsh, Bradshaw and Chuck Knoll, Aikman and Jimmy Johnson—all the great football dynasties had winning relationships between QB and coach. When the signal caller and the strategist are on the same page, it lends itself to success. You should have the same kind of relationship with your financial advisor. You both need to buy in to the plan completely and have a clear idea of your future’s bigger picture. It should be collaborative and trusting.

Elite game planning.

Brady has a surgical plan of attack for every opponent. He knows the exact play to exploit every defensive front he’s shown. You should have this level of control over your financial plan. You can have a successful retirement with a good game plan. If you want to build and leave a legacy of greatness like these Hall of Fame quarterbacks, you need to have an elite financial plan that is prepared for every possibility, and includes philanthropy as a main aspect of your long-term outlook and strategy.

Time in the film room.

So how do these legends devise such elite game plans? They’ve spent hours in the film room watching their opponents. They know what’s coming and they know exactly what they want to do. What’s more, they study their own film, observe their mistakes, and correct them for the next game, making themselves harder to game plan against and defeat. When you’re planning your retirement and legacy you should be keeping an eye on the task at hand, but always looking back and learning from your mistakes and missed opportunities. Then you and your financial advisor can take corrective action and make your legacy plan even more robust.

Sound decision making.

The greats know when to take that shot downfield and when to check-down to their running back. They also take the sack when the pressure is on rather than risk the interception. At the end of the game, they’ve won because they took sensible risks and minimized mistakes. The decisions you make for your financial plan and legacy shouldn’t be too dissimilar. Know when to walk away from a bad investment or a charity that disappointed you. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a cause that could go a long way toward building your legacy. When you’ve done the prep work like the greats, these decisions will come naturally.

I’ve helped others take control of their futures and become the quarterbacks of their legacies. I can help you do the same. Take my free assessment to find out how you can shape your legacy and how your retirement plan measures up: http://patrickrenn.com/making-legacy-count/