We all know that Green Bay Packers legendary Coach Vince Lombardi decided to step down from his coaching responsibilities after the 1967 season and following his Super Bowl II victory over the Oakland Raiders.
What we don’t know is that his father was really ticked about his decision to do so.
In today’s release from the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame (one of my favorite Packers sites, by the way), we find out that on this day in Packers history Lombardi told the story at the Dapper Dan Dinner in Pittsburgh. “For what have you given up coaching,” the senior Lombardi asked his son. Lombardi said at the dinner that he told his father what he had told everyone – that the job of coach and general manager had gotten too big to handle.
Isn’t it funny how history has a way of repeating itself? How many coaches over the past decade have experienced similar issues? Those with Packers ties - Mike Holmgren and Mike Sherman come quickly to mind – suffered the same issues.
But back in the day, Lombardi saw the writing on the wall and decided to give up coaching and stay on with the Packers as general manager. That lasted one season. When he realized he loved coaching too much and wanted to get back into it he left Green Bay and headed out to Washington, D.C., to coach the Redskins. He was there a single season, turning that franchise from a losing proposition into a winner in that single year. We can only guess what he may have accomplished in Washington had he not died before the start of his second season there.
“Dad wanted me to stay on forever as coach of the Packers,” Lombardi told those at the dinner. “He thinks that coaching the Packers is the greatest position going, and I agree with him.”
We also heard those same words from Mike Holmgren before he left Green Bay for a big contract and more power in Seattle.
The elder Lombardi must have been a very wise man.