It’s only appropriate on this Super Bowl weekend that the man who won the first two bowls and whose name is stamped on the championship trophy signed his first contract with the Green Bay Packers on this day in 1959.
The National Football League was just becoming America’s game, television had just begun its foray into broadcasting games and it was Lombardi who would usher in the modern era. When he arrived at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay with his wife in 1959, he was greeted by the team’s president, Dominic Olejniczak, two executive committee members and the media.
There were no throngs of fans, no hoopla. It was only Lombardi and his plan.
He told the media he was in the process of forming his coaching staff and expected to have it complete within the week. He said he was going to hire a coach to handle the offense and one to handle the defense and that he would have his “finger in the whole pie.”
He certainly did.
That first coaching staff built with Lombardi the powerhouse that was to become the Dynasty of the 1960s. Because of his success in Green Bay and the fact that Lombardi won the first two Super Bowls after the merger of the National Football League and American Football League, his name is forever inscribed on the trophy awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl each year.
The Lombardi Trophy will once again be awarded Sunday, Feb. 3, to that winning team – either the San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens.