But Lombardi was far from simplistic. He was a master technician, a psychologist, and a man who could take a team of individuals and meld them into a single mindset.
On the eve of the his birthday and the honor of being named the Greatest of the top 20 coaches in all of NFL History – per ESPN – we take the time to bring you some of the quotes that have been his legacy. Go into any successful business board room and you will see Lombardi quotes plastered on the walls. It’s a tribute not only to the intellect of the man, but to his legacy – that being his keen sense of humanity. He knew what made people tick and he knew how to get the best out of the people around him.
He was also smart enough to surround himself with the best assistant coaches who bought into his system and carried the Packers Way with them the remainder of their lives – as did every player who touched the gridiron under his direction.
So without any more delay, read on … for these are the words that really matter. Take them to heart; live by them. Share them with others, for they will be enriched.
“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”
“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”
“Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it – his mind, his body, his heart – what’s life worth to him?”
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
“I would say that the quality of each man’s life is the full measure of that man’s commitment of excellence and victory – whether it be football, whether it be business, whether it be politics or government or what have you.”
“Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
“Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure, and the temporary failures.”
“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”
“The spirit, the will to win and the will to excel – these are the things that endure and these are the qualities that are so much more important than any of the events that occasion them.”
“You never win a game unless you beat the guy in front of you. The score on the board doesn’t mean a thing. That’s for the fans. You’ve got to win the war with the man in front of you. You’ve got to get your man.”
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
“Having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it.”
“A leader must identify himself with the group, must back up the group, even at the risk of displeasing superiors. He must believe that the group wants from him a sense of approval. If this feeling prevails, production, discipline, morale will be high, and in return, you can demand the cooperation to promote the goals of the community.”
“They call it coaching but it is teaching. You do not just tell them…you show them the reasons.”
“If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.”
“Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.”
“I derived my strength from daily mass and communion.”
“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.”
“To be successful, a man must exert an effective influence upon his brothers and upon his associates, and the degree in which he accomplishes this depends on the personality of the man. The incandescence of which he is capable. The flame of fire that burns inside of him. The magnetism which draws the heart of other men to him.”
“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.”
“The object is to win fairly, by the rules – but to win.”
… And here are three of Lombardi’s greatest quotes:
“Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.”
“After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”
“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”