Even the most amateur of football fan has knowledge on the legend that is Vince Lombardi. During his coaching run, Vincent Thomas Lombardi was able to accomplish things most coaches could only dream of. Lombardi, the oldest of five children, was born on June 11, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. Born into a Catholic household, he was initially preparing to live a life of priesthood. In 1930, he made a life changing decision to take up the sport of football at St. Francis Preparatory where he starred at the fullback position. After graduation, he continued his football career as the star fullback for Fordham University. Vince Lombardi's success at Fordham led him to become part of their famous "Seven Blocks of Granite", the historic offensive line under head coach "Sleepy" Jim Crowley. Upon graduating magna cum laude in 1937, Lombardi began attending law school while also working for a local finance company.
Becoming a Legend
In 1947, he made another life-altering decision by joining the coaching staff of Fordham University. Although he only coached at his alma mater for two years, it paved the way for him to take up a better opportunity at West Point in 1949. It was here, as an assistant under Red Blaik, where Lombardi gathered the tools to become one of the greatest coaches ever. His growing reputation as a workaholic gained him the chance to become an assistant coach for the New York Giants. In his five years with the Giants, Lombardi led the team to five winning seasons including a championship in 1956.
It wasn't until 1959, when the Green Bay Packers elected to name him their head coach, that we got to see his coaching greatness on full display. Vince Lombardi's hard-edged style and ability to demand the best from his players on every possession became the trademark of his coaching style. This gruesome style of leading his team helped the Packers to be the most respected and successful teams of the 1960s. Under Lombardi, the Packers won five championships, including Super Bowl I and II. Adding this to his resume made him an unquestionable Hall of Famer.
If this wasn't enough to prove his greatness, he returned to coach the Redskins after a two year hiatus. In this 1969 season, he led the team to their first championship in more than a decade. Sadly, only a year later Vince Lombardi was diagnosed with colon cancer. He passed away shortly after on September 3, 1970, at the age of 57. Not long after his death, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Perhaps his biggest achievement though was having the greatest award in football, the Super Bowl trophy, named after him. Lombardi built of tradition of success that many coaches behind him can only attempt to replicate. He will have his fingerprints in the game of football forever.