How Credit Is Like the Super Bowl (and One Way It Isn't)


by Jeanne Kelly

NEW YORK ( —The NFL Super Bowl XLVII is this weekend. Will you watch it? (Even if you’re not a football fan, some people just watch for the commercials, the halftime show, the new shows afterward or the big bowl of nachos in the middle of the room.)

The Super Bowl is the ultimate game in the NFL, representing an entire season of effort of two championship-level teams, deciding on the field who is the greatest team of the year.

Just like football, your credit is a “battle” — and the victory is earned on the field of your finances.

Here are four tips inspired by the Super Bowl to help you win your own credit Super Bowl:

Only teams that show up can play. Can you imagine what would happen if a team didn’t show up for the Super Bowl? They would default automatically … and become the laughingstock of the NFL. If you want to make positive changes to your credit, it starts with showing up; with making a decision to work on your credit; and by pulling your credit reports and scores to see where you stand. offers you one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, and’s Credit Report Card offers you a free credit score once a month.

It takes hard work. Some people resist working on their credit because it can seem daunting. There are many “unknowns” and it can seem like there is a lot of paperwork. But guess who shows up at championship level games: The hardworking teams! (The good news is: With your credit, it’s not as hard as it seems. You just need to start and you’ll see.)  Make a plan to pay down your debt and build your credit, then see it through.

You shouldn’t do it alone. A team without coaches and experts and assistants could probably make it through the game, and they might even win, but it won’t be easy. There’s a reason the sidelines are jammed with people who will never throw a football. In your credit, get the help of friends, family, and experts (like the insight you’ll find here) to help.

The game is won with small plays. In football, the touchdowns might increase the game score, but what really determines the outcome of the game is good offense and defense on the field — those small moves up and down the field that can march the ball toward the goal line. The same with your credit. You won’t make positive changes in one giant swoop. You need to identify the several small tasks and tackle each one persistently. Among them: pay your bills on time, pay more than the minimum payment if you can and keep monitoring your credit reports and credit scores to map your progress.

There is one way credit is not like football. In football, the score at the end of the game determines who wins and who loses. That’s not the way it is in the world of credit. In the world of credit, we each have a credit score and making positive changes on our credit that can help contribute to a higher credit score. We win if we make a positive change.

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