Winning wasn’t everything; It was the only thing.
Vince Lombardi was born June 11, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. Though relatively small in stature, he played guard on the Fordham University football team, whose offensive line was known as the “Seven Blocks of Granite.’’ Lombardi graduated magna cum laude in 1937 and went to work as a teacher and coach at St. Cecilia’s High School in New Jersey. He returned to Fordham as an assistant football coach in 1947, and took a similar position at the U.S. Military Academy in 1949.
Lombardi became offensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 1954 and developed a powerful rushing attack based on the principals of the single wing that Fordham used. During Lombardi’s four years with the Giants, they won four division titles and one National Football League Championship.
But he found his greatest fame with the Green Bay Packers, a team that became known for its punishing style of play and refusal to quit. Under Lombardi, the Packers won five NFL Championships and the first two Super Bowls.
Lombardi retired from coaching in 1968 but after a year off the sidelines decided to try his hand at turning around the Washington Redskins. He led the team to a winning record in his first season, but then was diagnosed with cancer. He died on September 3, 1970.
His career record as an NFL head coach was 105 wins, 35 losses and six ties.
He was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and receives special recognition in the Hall of Fame’s Gallery of Champions