Yesterday was Vince Lombardi’s birthday. He would have been 100 years old.
For people of my generation, especially young boys who aspired to coach, he was an iconic figure. I wanted to be a coach so I could diagram plays like Lombardi, sure; but I really wanted to be a coach because I wanted to inspire like Lombardi.
Being a Kansas City Chiefs fan, the first Super Bowl will be forever burned in my psyche. If anyone was to beat my team, the Chiefs, let it be the legendary Green Bay Packers, led by my idol, Vince Lombardi.
A year later he left the Packers organization to try his hand at rebuilding the Redskin franchise. I did not understand.
A year later Lombardi died. That was 1970… I was 13… at that age I understood what I wanted to do with my life… Coach and Teach
When I graduated from high school, one of my most treasured gifts was a two volume, green leather bound set of “Vince Lombardi on Football”, that my sister gave me. I still have it today.
The first speech in my college public speaking class my freshman year (one of the first times that I stood up in front of a group of students and spoke) was based on Lombardi’s classic speech, “What it takes to be #1”
I just realized today that a line in that speech “you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time” was (unconsciously) surely the basis of the Mantra we started using in our program, and that I wrote about in my post, Do Things Right.
I am not trying to compare myself to Lombardi, but just reflecting on how much this man affected me, and I am sure many others from our generation.
Some excellent links to Lombardi info:
- Rare Lombardi photos – about 30 pictures with narratives.
- Complete text of his speech, “What it Takes to be Number One”
- A REALLY great film of Lombardi called “Second Effort”. This is a sales training film. It is about an hour long, and has Lombardi relating football to sales … and life. It is a little hokey because it was staged and scripted, but it is still moving to hear Lombardi talk about football, life, and success.
Two of my favorite Lombardi books:
- When Pride Still Mattered – David Maranis. One of the best biographies I have every read.
- That First Season – John Eisenberg. Chronicles Lombardi’s first season as Packer Coach
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org