Last night's Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals was one of the more bizarre match-ups in recent memory. Despite committing six turnovers, gaining only 168 yards in total offense, trailing 20-0 at halftime, and scoring no offensive touchdowns, the Bears were somehow able to pull off a stunning 24-23 come-from-behind win.
Investors, I believe, can learn a thing or two from the team's performance. For one thing, the victory speaks to the importance of diversity. According to one report, the Bears were the first team since 1986 to win an NFL football game on the road despite committing six turnovers.
The Bears were able to overcome these setbacks because they had an outstanding defense. Pretend for a moment that those six turnovers were a half-dozen money-losing stocks in your portfolio. The Bears were able to minimize their impact in two important ways.
First, they were able to prevent the Cardinals from capitalizing on most of the turnovers because of their stifling defense. If you have poorly performing stocks, it's often less important that those stocks have lost money, and more important that you have a strategy for minimizing their negative impact. You must determine whether your original investing thesis turned out wrong, or whether the conditions have changed for the worse at the losing companies since the time you bought them. If so, it's time to cut them from your team.
A great defense pays in other ways. For instance, it can be helpful to have at least a few larger, more conservative stocks in your portfolio. Such stocks are not sexy in a Terrell Owens kind of way, but you can count on them for solid performances on a regular basis. And if they also happen to be dividend-paying consumer-products stalwarts -- the kind Professor Jeremy Siegel called "corporate El Dorados" in his book The Future for Investors -- so much the better. Siegel examples such as Wrigley
The last lesson the 2006 Monsters of the Midway offer us is that a personal portfolio can benefit from having a special-teams player capable of turning in a game-breaking performance. In the Bears' case, the player is Devin Hester, who scored the 83-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score.
To my mind, such a player is analogous to owning at least one Rule Breaking company, like Intuitive Surgical
Now, great defense and solid special-teams performances alone are not likely to carry the Bears for the entire season. And those same investing characteristics are not likely to help you reach your long-term financial goals alone, either. But they do remind us that investing, like football, is a team game. You can win a few additional games by spreading your talent and wealth around.
Further Foolishness knows the score:
Fool contributor Jack Uldrich is actually a Minnesota Vikings fan and isn't even ready to concede the NFC's Central Division to the Bears. He does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.