Where’s Bart Starr when you need him?
With the Green Bay Packer’s return to the Super Bowl, one can’t help but reflect on the Packers of days gone by. The infamous Vincent Lombardi coached the Pack to five NFL championships from 1959 to 1967, a time before most of you who are reading this were born. We have seen photos and video of the man, we know the Super Bowl trophy was named after him, and we have read many of his quotes, but none of us can truly understand the coaching discipline this man had and how that impacted his players.
Football is a different game today. Athletes are bigger, stronger, faster. And richer. With the changes in the athletes and their motivation, one has to wonder if Lombardi’s style would succeed in 2011.
No longer are NFL players uniformed soldiers, obeying every command of their leader. No longer will these athletes prostate themselves to the coach at his every demand. No longer will athletes play simply for the love of the game.
Although there aren’t any “I’s” in “team,” there are plenty of “me’s” existing in the NFL today with the chest beating, trash talking egocentrics who rake in millions of dollars. Lombardi’s players could have never imagined any of this.
Lombardi was quoted as saying, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” That commitment to excellence still exists in the NFL, as long as it comes with a fleet of pimped out Escalades and multiple beach front properties. Randy Moss’ tirades over the quality of the team meal certainly would not have been tolerated for a minute under Lombardi. Terrell Owens wouldn’t be parading on the 50-yard line after a score. Chad Ochocinco wouldn’t be changing his name. No Troy Polamalu haircuts. No Jared Allen lassos. No Albert Haynesworth quitting on the field. One has to wonder if the Lambeau Leap would even be acceptable under Lombardi.
Lombardi knew the value of discipline. He said, “I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.”
Where’s Bart Starr when you need him? CV