What Would Lombardi Think About the Super Bowl?
Having recently had the pleasure on seeing the show, “Lombardi,” on Broadway, on the Friday evening before the Super Bowl, I had this peculiar feeling of being more personally attached to this year’s game, and especially to the Green Bay Packers. Vince Lombardi only coached in Green Bay for about ten years, and turned a losing football team into one of the greatest victorious franchises in sports history. He was obviously an eccentric individual, a complex man with a temper, a degree of paranoia, a strident spirit, and an amazing winning attitude. He is often quoted when people talk about winning because of his well known belief that only winning is winning, and anything else, including a close second is still a loss. He insisted that his players were “men” who held their destiny in their own hands, and if they played hard and smart, and paid attention, and wanted to win more than their opponent, that they would be victorious. He believed there was no such thing as an “empty victory.”
As I was thing about Super Bowl XLV, I could not stop thinking about what he would think about professional football today. Would he recognize a game where both players and owners were reaping incredible financial windfalls, while when he coached players had so little benefit, in terms of salaries, guarantees, insurance, etc? How would he feel about all the talk about a “lockout” for next season? Would he believe or like all the emphasis on the Super Bowl ads superslot, or the reported three million dollars per thirty second time slot?
Lombardi felt that when one played, it was not and should not be for money, but rather for the love of the game, and for the personal pride and reward on e gets from winning. Reportedly, he was a rather controlling individual, and how would he have interacted with today’s players?
Perhaps the most interesting paradox would have been about how he would have felt about his Packers entering this game after having only been seeded sixth in the National Football Conference, and the mention by many in the media about how Green Bay should be proud that they had gotten this far, regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl, especially in light of how many players were injured both during the year, and during the game? Obviously, one can learn a lot about sports and about football by witnessing and studying Lombardi. However, the real lesson to be learned from Vince Lombardi is that attitude is the most important characteristic and asset that each of us possess. Lombardi understood all about motivation and attitude years before it became a popular thing!