Inside The Pocket #005: Vince Lombardi
By Simon Carroll
Beginning in 2018 and running through 2021, the Collapsing Pocket launched a new series of podcasts looking back at the iconic characters and biggest moments in the NFL, and what makes football the most beautiful – and sometimes the ugliest – sport that we all know & love.
Known as the ‘Inside The Pocket’ series, The Touchdown will be relaunching these twenty episodes as part of the buildup to the 2023 season. The original creators Sam Akroyd, Simon Carroll and Rob Ward look back and offer their thoughts on how these legends and eras shaped the league we see today.
ITP #005: Vince Lombardi
First aired 13th August 2018
So iconic, they name the championship trophy after you.
Vince Lombardi was the NFL’s first true coaching behemoth. But it could have been so much different – the son of Italian parents, Lombardi nearly went into priesthood at a young age – which later in life would give him the nickname ‘The Pope’. Lombardi had an irregular entry into football, playing fullback, guard and even sometimes on defense for Fordham. After struggling for work during the great depression, he finally stumbled into coaching at St. Cecelia’s High School – and so his legend began.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Whilst coaching alongside Tom Landry as coordinators with the Giants, Lombardi was convinced his heritage and racial stereotyping would deny him a head coaching role. His devout religious beliefs and impeccable character helped shape him into the leader he would eventually become – and once he got his opportunity he made sure that his team was as free of discrimination as any in that era. Considered a liberal democrat, Lombardi made Green Bay a safe space for players of any colour or sexuality – and ruthlessly fired anyone who showed any signs of prejudice.
Tactically, Lombardi was ahead of his time. A compulsive user of the ‘sweep’, no defense could stop his team moving the chains. This staunch commitment to running the ball saw the Packers win the first two Super Bowls in history, and forever have his name adorned on the trophy. Lombardi won nine of ten playoff games in Green Bay, and finished his head coaching career with a record of 105-35-6.
If it wasn’t his football success, tactical innovation or progressive beliefs, Vince Lombardi will also be forever known for his memorable quotes. He may have left this mortal coil on September 3rd 1970, but his legacy will forever endure.
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PREVIOUSLY THE FOUNDER OF NFL DRAFT UK, SIMON HAS BEEN COVERING COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND THE NFL DRAFT SINCE 2009. BASED IN MANCHESTER, SIMON IS ALSO CO-CREATOR & WEEKLY GUEST OF THE COLLAPSING POCKET PODCAST.