Q. Vince Lombardi has become synonymous with which of the following? A. Winning B. The NFL C. Hard Work D. All of the Above
A. D, all of the above
In 1956, the New York Giants won the NFL championship under head coach Jim Lee Howell. That’s forgettable, until you consider that Vince Lombardi was the offensive coordinator and Tom Landry, legendary head coach of the Cowboys, was the defensive coordinator.
The Green Bay Packers gave Lombardi the opportunity to be a head coach in 1959. The team was coming off a 1-10-1 season. His first year, they improved to 7-5. The next season, he had them in the championship game, but lost. It was to be his only postseason loss. Lombardi led the Packers to NFL championships in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, and 1967. The last two wins were in Super Bowls I and II.
Lombardi was known as a strict disciplinarian. “Lombardi time” meant being 10 minutes early or you were considered late. He said, “Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it character in action.”
Lombardi is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, of course. And the Super Bowl trophy has been named in his honor. He’d probably be embarrassed by the awards and accolades, but he earned them. Despite his strict regime, his players loved him. And when he died of cancer at age 57, football fans everywhere lost not only a great coach, but a great man.