Vince Lombardi Concidence

Vince Lombardi

1959

In both 1958 and 1959, the New Giants and the Baltimore Colts won their divisions.  At age eight in 1955, it came as shock to see Baltimore in the West and the Chicago Cardinals in the East but so be it.  Lombardi left New York after 1958 then went to Green Bay.  In 59, Green Bay was 7-5 a 5 1/2 game jump from 1-10-1 with almost no change in players.  This was the Packers first winning season in 12 years.  They did have trouble with the better teams.  Green Bay lost two to Baltimore and in an inter conference match, the Giants beat them 20 to 3.  They were not great but they were not longer among the NFL’s worst teams.  Just slightly above .500

1967

In 1967, lots of things were disjointed with the Packers.  In what may be the best coaching feat of all time, they won the Super Bowl.  To this day, I have no idea how VL managed this.  Nevertheless,  he knew he had gotten the most out of his package, pun intended, and retired as head coach.  He gave some screwball story about the burdens of being general manager and coach but this, I knew then, was not really true.  I have never been particularly good a sizing up people.  Here was an exception.   He simply saw the team going downhill.  The Packers were 6-8 in 1968.

1969

Vince Lombardi became the head coach of the Washington Redskins.  The year before the Redskins were 5-9.  Lombardi brought them to 7-5-2, a three game improvement {5-9 to 7-7 is a two game difference.  Chopping off a loss without a win is a 1/2 improvement.  In this case, he eliminated two losses.} Almost an echo.  This was the Redskins first winning season 14 years. They did have trouble with the better teams:

lost two to Dallas (11-2-1)            
lost to Cleveland (10-3-1)
lost to Los Angeles Rams (11-3)
lost to Baltimore  (8-5-1)

The Colts were a puzzle in 1969.  They were the defending NFL Champions but lost the Super Bowl to the Jets.  After losing the first three, they went 8-2-1 thereafter.

Washington was not great but they were not longer among the NFL’s worst teams.  Just slightly above .500.  Historians will be debating what might have been had Lombardi not died.  The main problem with him was himself.  He had this idea, which proved correct, that a man could tolerate pain if he tried.  Late in 1969, Vince Lombardi tried to relieve his abdominal cramps with Pepto Bismol.  He had stomach cancer. 

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