Category Archives: Vince Lombardi

17

July

Packers Video: Green Bay Packers 101

Every Green Bay Packers fan has faced this question at one point or another:

“Why the Packers?”

The fan then gives their reason for their apparent insanity.  It could be the team’s tradition or it could be a family tradition or a Wisconsin birthright for those born in the Dairy State.  Each fan has their own unique story as to how and why they became and still remain a Packers fan.

In rare circumstances, you may find yourself at a loss for words (because the Packers are so darn awesome) or you might have difficulty explaining your fandom to someone who prefers a much more visual medium.

If that’s the case here is WatchMojo.com’s Greatest Sports Franchises series on THE greatest sports franchise, the Green Bay Packers.  It serves as a great “Packers 101″ for anyone who knows little to nothing about the team’s history.

Those poor uneducated souls.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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14

April

Historical Perspective: Vince Lombardi’s Offense Was More Complex Than You Think

Vince Lombardi ran a precision offense that may be remembered incorrectly within his legend.

Vince Lombardi ran a precision offense that may be remembered somewhat incorrectly within his legend.

Former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi is arguably the greatest coach in the history of the NFL. However, I believe that his legacy is actually underrepresented in the annals of fame.

Lombardi is often credited for having his teams seek perfection. As part of this perfection, the legend suggests that his offensive playbook was more simple than his peers. But, since his players ran the smaller offensive category to perfection, it was the winning formula en route to five NFL championships over a seven-year stretch.

The legend perpetuates the notion that the Packers Power Sweep was the main driving force for the 1960s dynasty. They swept their way into the history books.

Pundits today also continue their accounts by suggesting that the modern game has surpassed Lombardi and he wouldn’t be able to compete with the contemporary sophistication.

Granted, Lombardi’s offense wasn’t as open as Tom Landry’s multiple-shift and intricate “System” at the time, but it was much more complex than history seems be crediting him.

I have always been a great fan and student of Lombardi’s playbook. It started when I was a young child and was given a copy of his posthumous book “Vince Lombardi on Football,” edited by George L. Flynn. Throughout the book, Lombardi painstakingly teaches the reader, down to the finest detail, the mechanisms of executing his football plays.

Allow me to highlight some of Lombardi’s offensive philosophies and play calls to demonstrate that his offense was quite contemporary and multiple for the time, and to also showcase how some of his staples are still present in today’s modern NFL.

Exhibit A: The Passing Tree

Sid Gillman is often called the “father of the modern passing game.” He was among the first to standardize receiver routes and attach them to precision timing. The routes were perfectly constructed to match the quarterback’s drop back with the break of the receivers to mesh in a completion.

He was one of the reasons the AFL exploded on the scene with wide-open passing attacks. The game would never be the same after his imprint.

Before Gillman, oftentimes receivers only ran a few routes to match their skill set and simply would try to “get open” and then look for the ball.

13

December

Packers Periscope: Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys

The Past: In reality, the Packers and Cowboys aren’t all that different; both are storied franchises whose heydays came after hiring relatively unknown New York Giants coordinators.  Both had a renaissance of sorts in the 80s and 90s; Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin for the Cowboys and Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, Reggie White and Desmond Howard for the Packers both lead their respective teams back into relevance.  Both have been successful franchises in the last couple years; obviously Green Bay boasts a Super Bowl over the last couple of years that the Cowboys have no answer for but to call the franchise “unsuccessful” would be glossing over a decent team who are still the highest grossing franchise in the league.

While the Packers and Cowboys have only played each other 24 times in NFL history; perhaps the most historic game of all time occurred in New Years eve, 1967 where the temperature dropped -15F and an unassuming quarterback from Alabama drafted in the 17th round quarterback sneaked his way into the hearts of Packers nation and became a legend.

The Cowboys would probably like to forget the last time they played the Packers, a 45-7 demolition at Lambeau Field that would ultimately lead to the firing of then head coach Wade Phillips, which was punctualized by several coaching mistakes which ultimately lead to a bad call on a fumble returned for a special teams touchdown being unchallenged because the Cowboys had already wasted all their timeouts.  After that, the entire team simply gave up and let the Packers had their way with the Cowboys; Clay Matthews recorded sack/interception returned for a touchdown while James Jones logged 123 yards and a touchdown on 8 receptions.

The Present: Both the Packers and Cowboys are at a crossroads of sorts for their playoff hopes.  Frankly neither should really be in the discussion; the Packers are a completely different team without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Cowboys have been wildly inconsistent, almost beating the Peyton Manning lead Denver Broncos but getting blown out by the Bears last week with a backup quarterback that’s just been benched for Jay Cutler.  Still the Packers are 6-6-1 and have a shot to get into the playoffs (especially if the Lions continue to play poorly) while the Cowboys are 7-6 and again are one game out from 1st place in the NFC East.  However in a league of parity, both teams with essentially .500 records are still in the playoff hunts with a reasonable chance of actually getting in says platitudes about how a team’s fortunes can change in a matter of moments.

16

November

Cory’s Corner: Lambeau Field has lost its mystique

The Packers have lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 2008. Lambeau Field doesn't have the home field advantage it once did.

The Packers have lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 2008. Lambeau Field doesn’t have the home field advantage it once did.

I realize the best passer was watching the game from the sideline, but what happened to the Lambeau Field mystique?

After dropping an ugly loss to the Eagles, the Packers have now lost two straight home games for the first time since 2008. I can remember when the Packers reeled off 25-straight home wins from 1995-1998.

Coming into the Bears game Nov. 4, the Packers had won 10 straight at home and 23 of its last 24. Those are good numbers but it appears that those numbers may be the exception and not the rule.

It seemed whenever Green Bay was playing at home it was just expected that it was going to be another win. And when it was a playoff game in January in the bitter cold, many teams wilted under the shadows of greats like Curly Lambeau and Vince Lambeau all the way to Mike Holmgren.

Of course that all changed in 2002 when a 22-year-old quarterback by the name of Michael Vick, in just his second year as a pro by the way, turned the normally racous Lambeau into deafening silence.

Looking at former teams, there is one common denominator from Brett Favre’s teams of the 90s to Aaron Rodgers teams now: they were a lot tougher. And I know that may be construed as a cop-out because that soft label has been applied to this team before.

But go back to 2010. You’re lying if you say you truly expected the Packers to win the Super Bowl. After Matt Flynn lost a tough game at New England to drop Green Bay’s record to 8-6, I thought they were done.

They then won two straight and got in the playoffs through the back door. The turning point of the playoff run was the 27-point shellacking the Packers gave to the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. And the reason is simple: the Packers were and are built like a dome team.

On the outside, the Packers look like a bunch of mean football players ready to shatter all of your bones. But on the inside, they’re at home sipping hot cocoa under your grandma’s freshly knitted afghan blanket.

They’re the semi truck with cross-stitch and Sudoku inside.

5

October

Cory’s Corner: Lombardi still resonates with Packers fans

Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi won five championships in seven years and is the only coach to win three straight.

Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi won five championships in seven years and is the only coach to win three straight.

 

Vince Lombardi is an expected learn. Not just in snowy Packer country where Lombardi made the rest of the NFL scream “Uncle!” but throughout the globe where his level of success and achievement has been unreachable.

I was born nine years after he passed away in 1970, but the most amazing thing to me is how much that man means to a fan base that after all those years cannot stop talking about him, crawling on his imposing statue outside the Lambeau Field Atrium and cannot stop drooling at the NFL’s top prize, rightly named in his honor.

“To this day that is one thing that I’m surprised at,” said Lombardi’s grandson John, who was in New York on behalf of his grandfather to be a part of the “Hometown Hall of Famers” celebration recently.  “I thought over time that he would fade from memory. I mean he would’ve been 100 this year. His 100th birthday was in June. And to still be so relevant and referred to is amazing.”

The “Hometown Hall of Famers” is a program that started in 2011 and its sole mission is to highlight the hometown roots of the NFL’s best players with a special ceremony and a plaque that remains in the hometown. The Lombardi family chose to keep the plaque at St. Francis Preparatory School, where Lombardi honed his craft as an offensive lineman en route to earning a scholarship to Fordham University.

It didn’t take long for Lombardi to put the rest of the NFL in a stranglehold. Two years after the Packers finished 1-10-1 in 1958 and were within a whisper of losing the franchise, Lombardi churned out a playoff team for the first time since 1944. Lombardi didn’t stop there as he racked up three NFL championships and two Super Bowls in seven years, numbers that would make any opponent cripple to its knees.

“The greatest achievement is winning three championships in a row which in the playoff era no team has done,” said Lombardi who worked for 10 years in football with the World League, the Cleveland Browns, Vanderbilt University and Tennessee Oilers/Titans. “A lot have won two but no one has been able to win that third one. So it’s that achievement level that I think they’re all chasing. That accomplishment in and of itself is something that everyone can look to who’s in professional sports.

26

September

Vince Lombardi to be Honored by Pro Football Hall of Fame Oct 2

Vince Lombardi, Hometown Hall of Famer

Vince Lombardi, Hometown Hall of Famer

Legendary Packers football coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Vince Lombardi, is going to be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at his H.S. alma mater in New York with a special ceremony and plaque presentation.

This event at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, New York, is part of “Hometown Hall of Famers™,” a national program honoring the hometown roots of the sport’s greatest coaches, players, and contributors.

John Lombardi, Vince’s grandson, will be on-hand at the ceremony to accept the plaque on his grandfather’s behalf and say a few words about his legacy.

Here is the full Press Release:

National Program Recognizes Pro Football’s Greatest Legends in their Hometown Communities

Canton, Ohio – Sept. 25, 2013 – Pro football legend Vince Lombardi will be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company in Queens, New York, on Wednesday, Oct. 2, as part of “Hometown Hall of Famers™,” a national program honoring the hometown roots of the sport’s greatest coaches, players, and contributors with special ceremonies and plaque dedication events in local communities.

“’Hometown Hall of Famers™’ has been warmly embraced by communities and Hall of Famers alike,” said George Veras, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises president and CEO. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Allstate to bring the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities across the country and congratulate the late Vince Lombardi and St. Francis Preparatory School on bringing a piece of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to Queens.”

A legendary NFL coach and former high school standout at St. Francis Preparatory School, Lombardi will be honored with his “Hometown Hall of Famer™” plaque during a special ceremony at 1:25 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in the school’s auditorium, located at 6100 Francis Lewis Blvd., Fresh Meadows, NY, where the plaque will live permanently to serve as an inspiration for the school’s students and athletes. John Lombardi, Vince’s grandson, will be on-hand to accept the plaque on behalf of the Lombardi family.

“To be part of a program that brings the prestige and tradition of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities like Queens is an honor for Allstate, our agents and employees,” said Lisa Cochrane, Allstate’s senior vice president of marketing.
The ceremony will be attended by St. Francis Preparatory School students, faculty, staff, alumni and Lombardi’s family members and close friends. Kyle Flood, Rutgers University head football coach and St. Francis alumnus, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.