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Home > Real Men > Sports > Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi


Born June 11, 1913. Brooklyn, New York.
Died September 3, 1970. Washington, D.C.


Marie, 1940


Vince Lombardi Jr.
Susan Lombardi


Vince was born in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, the first of five children to Henry and Matilda Izzo Lombardi. He had 2 sisters and 2 brothers. He experimented with boxing as a teenager, but didn't care for it and started his studies for priesthood in 1928.

Vince Lombardi Hall of FameHe decided in 1930 not to pursue the priesthood, and started his football playing career as a fullback at St. Francis Prep. He went on to play guard at Fordham University from 1933-1936, becoming one of the "Seven Blocks of Granite" in his senior season. He graduated from Fordham magna cum laude in 1937, and attended Fordham Law School at night while working for a finance company by day. He also played a couple of seasons of semi-pro football.

In 1939 he took an assistant football coaching job at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, NJ, earning $1700 a year while also coaching basketball and baseball, and teaching Latin, algebra, physics and chemistry. He married Marie in 1940, and left St. Cecilia in 1947 to become the freshman football coach at Fordham, and moved up to varsity assistant a year later. He left to coach the offensive line at West Point in 1949, and took his first NFL job as offensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 1954. While there, the Giants won four divisional titles and one NFL championship.

Lombardi Super BowlHe began his head coaching career in 1959, at the age of 46 with the Green Bay Packers. In one season, he turned a 1-10-1 team into a 7-5 team, and was a unanimous choice for NFL coach of the year. He stepped down as head coach in 1968 after winning six divisional championships, five NFL championships, and Super Bowls I and II, but he did stay in Green Bay as the team's General Manager.

In 1969, Vince resigned as the Packers' General Manager to become part-owner, executive vice-president and coach of the Washington Redskins. He was forced to retire after one season when he was diagnosed with cancer. He died less than a year later.

His overall coaching record was 105-35-6. He was inducted as a charter member to the Fordham University Hall of Fame in 1970, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame in 1975. Shortly after his death in 1970, the Rotary Club created an annual award to go to the top college lineman or linebacker in his name, and the NFL renamed its Super Bowl trophy in honor of him.


Lombardi TrophyEach sterling silver Vince Lombardi Trophey is hand created by Tiffany & Company, weighing 6.7 pounds, standing 20 inches tall, and valued at over $10,000.


"The dictionary is the only place where success somes before work."

"Winning is not everything -- but making effort to win is." (Contrary to what many believe, Lombardi did not coin the phrase "Winning isn't everything, its the only thing," although he may have used it).

"Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit."

"It's not whether you you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."

"Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile."

"Dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport."

"The harder you work the harder it is to surrender."

"If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you'll be fired with enthusiasm."

"People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society."

Vince Lombardi on the web... - Offical Site of Vince Lombardi
More Vince Lombardi quotes
Vince Lombardi on Wikipedia

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