Lombardi: What it Takes to Be Number 1

Vince Lombardi is known as one of the most successful football coaches in the history of the game.  He had a habit of creating winners.  His focus, however, was on fine-tuning each player – helping them become the best they could be.  A lesson can be taken from this as we each have our own team that we coach everyday in the nursing home.  Have your staff become complacent, just meeting the minimums?  What are we doing each day to bring up our team’s performance?  Are we making goals for each one of reports?  Are we taking time to sit down with them and lay out a gameplan so they can be successful?  Are we creating a “winning” environment?  What can your team accomplish?  What can they be Number 1 at?

One of Lombardi’s most famous speeches:

What It Takes to be Number  1

“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 things right once in a while; you do them right all the time.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

“There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.

“Every time a football player goes to play his trade he’s got to play from the ground up — from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. 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.

“Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization — an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win — to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.

“It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there — to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules — but to win.

“And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

“I don’t say these things because I believe in the “brute” nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But 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.”

– V. Lombardi

1913 – 1970

Vince Lombardi

In 1954 at age of 41, Lombardi began his career as a professional football coach accepting what would later become known as the offensive coordinator position for the NFL’s New York Giants. The year before, they had lost nine of 12 games and had scored the fewest number of points in the league. In the five years that Lombardi was an assistant with the Giants, they never had a losing season.

1956 – Helped coach the New York Giants to NFL Championship

1958 – Assisted in taking the New York Giants to another NFL Championship game

1959 – Began head coaching career with the Green Bay Packers

1959 – Was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1959, his rookie season

1960 – Took Green Bay Packers to league Championship

1961-62, 1965 – Coached Packers to victories in league Championships

1967 – Led Green Bay Packers to victory in first Super Bowl game.

1968 – Won Super Bowl II.

The NFL named Lombardi their 1960s Man of the Year

1970 – Inducted as a charter member to the Fordham University Hall of Fame.

1970 – Rotary Club dedicates an annual Lombardi Award to outstanding football linesmen.

1971 – Has the Super Bowl trophy renamed in his honor to the “Vince Lombardi trophy.

1971 – Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

1975 – Inducted into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame

Lombardi’s overall professional coaching record was 105-35-6.

Won 5 NFL Championships, including Super Bowls I and II, during his tenure with the Green Bay Packers

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