Vince Lombardi

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Vince Lombardi (June 11 1913 - September 3 1970) was one of the most successful coaches in the history of American football. As head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967, and the Washington Redskins in 1969, he compiled a combined record of 105-35-6. He never had a losing season. More remarkably, his Green Bay teams won five NFL championships over the span of nine years. He only lost one playoff game--his first, in 1960--and then never lost another playoff game. He was the only coach to win three consecutive NFL championships, and his Packers won the first two Super Bowls. The Super Bowl trophy is named after him.

Lombardi's teams were characterized by the skillful execution of plays (particuarly, on offense, the most famous Packer play was its sweep), but just as important to his success was Lombardi's skill as a motivator.

One of the most famous games in the history of football was the NFL championship game of 1967, in which his team played the Dallas Cowboys in Green Bay. The game time temperature was 13 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit), and the game has come to be known as the Ice Bowl. Near the end of the game, with time running out, the Packers were behind in the score, and near the goal line. Their quarterback, Bart Starr, ran a quarterback sneak, with guard Jerry Kramer taking out Dallas player Jethro Pugh; Starr scored the touchdown and won the game in the final seconds. Lombardi later said of that play, "We gambled and we won."

Lombardi's success is legendary, and he is often associated with the maxim, "Winning isn't everything, it's the the only thing." However, he did not coin this phrase, and it is uncertain if he actually ever said that; however, he did say something similar: "Winning isn't everything, but wanting to is."

There is web site devoted to him at