Vince Lombardi was born June 11, 1913 in Brooklyn, NY and passed away at age 57 in 1970. Lombardi’s name is raised high once a year when 1 NFL team prevails as the Super Bowl Champion. In his early teens, Vince would help his father in the family butcher shop. Although Vince and both his parents were born in America his family was subject to the rampant discrimination against Italian immigrants at the time. He grew up in an ethnically diverse middle class neighborhood where religion was very important to his family. Vince was an alter boy growing up and after graduating 8th grade he matriculated with the Cathedral Preparatory Seminary which was a 6 year secondary program to become a priest. He played basketball and baseball while attending cathedral but he never was really good at either. After four years at Cathedral he decided he did not want to pursue the priesthood any longer. In 1932 he would enroll at St Francis Preparatory high school where he would play full back on the football team.
The following year Vince would except a football scholarship the Fordham University in the Bronx. His football career was under way. Lombardi pursued coaching after several failed attempts at the blue collar level. He worked his way up coaching high school , college, and at West Point, where he developed his hard nosed coaching style. He worked his way into the pros as an assistant coach for the New York Giants. In 1959 Vince accepted the head coaching position of the Green Bay Packers, who were coming off their worst season ever finishing with a 1-10-1 record. Lombardi quickly turned the team around to finish 7-5 and Vince won coach of the year award. The Packers had a winning record for the entire time Lombardi coached. In 1960 every game was a sell out, and since that season, every home game, playoff game, and preseason game have been sell outs as well. Lombardi’s Packers would win man championships including Super Bowl 1 and 2. During Lombardi’s time at the Packers, he looked back to his childhood when he was discriminated against for being Italian. There was no toleration for this in his Organization. Everyone was treated like family and taken at face value. If you did your job, it did not matter if you were black or white, straight or gay, man or woman. Everyone was equal.
Vince is arguably the best all time coach in any sport. His legacy lives on in every NFL game played today, and as the trophy is raised for this year’s Super Bowl champ, remember the man he was and the legacy that the trophy represents.
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