Celebrate Vince Lombardi: NFL Legend
This Thursday marks the exciting official return of NFL season! Today, we pay tribute to the football coach that has the distinct honor of having THE Super Bowl trophy named after him. Vince Lombardi.
Vince Lombardi is widely considered to be one of the best NFL coaches in history. In 1958, right before he started coaching the Green Bay Packers, the team’s record was at its worst and the players were extremely demoralized. The Packers had won 1 game, lost 10 games, and tied 1 game. Lombardi took over and created extremely regimented training plans for the team to condition them for the coming season. He expected discipline and dedication from all the players. In 1959, his first year as their coach, the Packers showed instant improvement, winning 7 games and losing 5. In his second year as their coach, the Packers won the NFL Western Conference.
Vince Lombardi took over a downtrodden Green Bay Packers team in 1959 and turned it into professional football’s most dominant organization of the 1960s. Under his leadership, the Packers won the first two Super Bowls. Overall, he led the team to 5 championships in 9 seasons as their head coach.
Lombardi retired from coaching the Packers after Super Bowl II but retained his general manager duties in 1968. He returned to the sideline in 1969 as coach of the Washington Redskins, who lured him with an ownership stake. That season, Lombardi led the Redskins to their first winning record in 15 years. Unfortunately, a second season with the Redskins did not become an option. Vince Lombardi stepped down as coach due to an aggressive form of colon cancer that ended his life on September 3, 1970, two short months after he was diagnosed with the disease.
While Lombardi was most famous for his victories on the field, he was also known for being ahead of his time in terms of his accepting nature off the field. In those times, some teams refused to draft players based on their race. Lombardi was very clear about ignoring those prejudices saying that he “viewed his players as neither black nor white, but Packer green.” In addition, at training camp, he also warned his players that he had a zero tolerance policy towards racism, and if any player exhibited prejudice, in any manner, then that player would be thrown off the team. Multiple players who played for Vince Lombardi, the legendary former Packers and Redskins coach, also say that he knew some of his players were gay, and that not only did he not have a problem with it, but he went out of his way to make sure no one else on his team would make it a problem.
Vince Lombardi was truly one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, and years later, we continue to still be inspired by the values of hard work, focus, and determination that he instilled in his players.
Check out these videos below that capture the essence of Vince Lombardi.
The official trailer for Madden ’12 which features an inspirational speech by Vince Lombardi
Team mates talking about Vince Lombardi as a coach
Super Bowl special: Jerry Kramer releases an audio recording of Vince Lombardi speaking to the team in the locker room before the game
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