I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.
The temperature is -13 degrees fahrenheit with a wind chill reported at -48F. The bitter cold has overwhelmed Lambeau Fields new turf warming system. The playing field is as hard as a rock and as slick as ice. The packers have the ball on the Dallas Cowboys one yard line with just 16 seconds remaining in the National Football League Championship. The coldest game in the history of the NFL comes down to one play.
The Packers have already tried to score twice on running plays from the one yard line but had no gain. The Cowboys Coach Tom Landry is expecting a pass play because a failed attempt would stop the clock and allow for a game tying field goal. Lombardi is not going to play it safe and calls for another hand off to Chuck Mercein. The Hall of Fame Quarterback Bart Starr decides at the last second that the turf is too slick for another hand-off. To the surprise of even his own team he runs a quarterback sneak. He scores and gives Lombardi’s Packers a 21-17 lead with just seconds left in the game. The Packers hold on to win and go on to easily defeat the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl.
Vince Lombardi is widely regarded as one of the best if not the best coach in NFL history. He took over a Green Bay team that had been losing for nearly two decades and only won one game in 1958. Yet in ’59, his first year, they have a winning record. The Packers make it to the league championship in Lombardi’s second year in charge. They win the NFL Championship in his 3rd and 4th year at Green Bay. In all, the Packers win 5 championships in 7 years under Lombardi and after that first year they never finish worse than 2nd.
Vince Lombardi was not only successful, he was legendary. He is still regarded as one of the most inspirational leaders is our lifetimes. What made this legendary coach so inspirational?
- Passion: Vince Lombardi once said, “There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I never want to finish second again.” That is passion for victory.
- Communication: Lombardi was not only passionate, he was able to communicate his passion to his team in terms they understood. He was in touch with his team and knew what they needed to hear to be inspired: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
- Dedication: Vince Lombardi was as dedicated to the game as he expected his players to be: “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
What can you learn from this coaching legend? Can you be more passionate or dedicated? Can you connect with your team and improve your message? What will you do today to become a better leader?
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.
The Packer’s season record data was obtained at http://www.rauzulusstreet.com/football/profootball/greenbayseason.html. Details of the 1967 Championship game were obtained at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFL_Championship_Game,_1967
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