Vincent Thomas ‘Vince’ Lombardi was a professional football player and a well-known coach in the United States. He was not a head coach in the National Football League for an extended period of time, but during his ten years as head coach of the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins, he set the bar for all other teams by transforming the Packers into an NFL dynasty. When he eventually landed a job in the NFL, it was as an assistant coach with the New York Giants. Lombardi led the Packers to six divisional titles, five national football league championships, and two super bowl victories during his tenure in Green Bay. Lombardi’s regular-season winning percentage is extraordinary, ranking among the NFL’s all-time great coaches. He became a national celebrity as a result of his success, but it wasn’t just his ability as a coach that drew people in. His philosophy on football and life in general resonated with the American public. Each year’s Super Bowl champions receive the trophy bearing his name as the ultimate testament to his enduring influence on professional football. In 1971, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Childhood & Adolescence
He was the eldest of five children born to Italian immigrant Enrico ‘Harry’ Lombardi and his wife Matilda ‘Mattie’ Izzo. He was raised in a devout Catholic family and was appointed as a ‘altar boy’ at St. Mark’s Catholic Church.
He began playing football in an organized un-coached league in Sheepshead Bay at the age of 12. In 1928, he enrolled at Immaculate Conception Cathedral College to study for the priesthood.
After four years, he enrolled at St. Francis Preparatory High School, where he became a charter member of the fraternity ‘Omega Gamma Delta.’
In 1933, he enrolled at Fordham University on a football scholarship to play for coach Jim Crowley’s Fordham rams.
He was one of the football team’s ‘Seven Blocks of Granite,’ a moniker given to the team’s tenacious offensive line.
He graduated from Fordham University on June 16, 1937, and attended law school in the evenings while working at a finance company during the day. However, he soon dropped out of law school due to his poor grades.
Career of Vince
In 1939, he was appointed assistant coach at St. Cecelia High School in Englewood, New Jersey, a Roman Catholic high school. Additionally, he taught Latin, chemistry, and physics at the high school, where he quickly rose to the position of head coach in 1942.
Under his leadership, St. Cecelia’s football team reached the pinnacle of glory in 1943. He also became a member of the Burgen County Coaches Association while he was there. He spent eight seasons at Cecelia and then returned to his alma mater.
He became the football and basketball coach at Fordham University in 1947. He served as an assistant coach for Fordham’s varsity football team the following year and left after a few seasons.
He continued his coaching career at West Point under legendary head coach Earl ‘Colonel Red’ Blaik as an offensive line coach.
As an assistant to Blaik during this time period, he identified and developed what would become the defining characteristics of his great team—simplicity and execution. He spent five seasons there before switching to the other team.
Significant Works of Vince
In 1954, he joined the ‘New York Giants’ in the New York football league. He accepted an offensive coordinator position under new head coach Jim Lee Howell. He spent five years there and guided them to five winning seasons, including the league championship in 1956.
He signed a five-year contract with the ‘Green Bay Packers’ in 1959 and transformed the struggling team into an emerging champion.
He led the football club to five championships during his tenure, including victories in Super Bowl I and II, and the team never had a losing season.
In 1969, he left Green Bay and returned to coaching as the ‘Washington Redskins’ head coach. He guided the club to its first winning season in over a decade and instilled a winning attitude in the team.
Awards and Accomplishments
In 1967, he was awarded Fordham’s highest honor, the ‘Insignis medal,’ for his outstanding teaching. He was inducted into the Fordham University Athletic Hall of Fame four years later.
He was presented with the Boy Scouts of America’s ‘Silver Buffalo Award’ in 1969 and was inducted into the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame two years later.
He was inducted into Wisconsin’s athletic hall of fame in 1976. He was inducted into the American Football Association’s semi-pro football hall of fame a few years later, in 1988. Finally, in 2008, he was posthumously inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Personal History and Legacies
He married Marie Planitz on August 31, 1940, and they had two children, a son named Vincent Harold Lombardi (Vincent Jr.) and a daughter named Susan.
As part of the renovation of Lambeau Field, a fourteen-foot statue of Lombardi was erected on a plaza outside the stadium.
As he frequently did on the sideline, the statue was dressed in an overcoat and grasping the program. In 1968, Green Bay’s Highland Avenue was renamed Lombardi Avenue.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy was renamed the NFS Super Bowl trophy in his honor. The Houston Rotary Club established the Lombardi award in 1970 to recognize the best college football offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker each year.
Lombardi Field is named after the football field at Old Bridge School in New Jersey, and a plaque honoring him was installed in 1974 on the sidewalk near Sheepshead Bay Road and East 14th Street in Brooklyn, New York.
The Vincent T. Lombardi Center was named in his honor at Fordham University. Vincent T. Lombardi is also the name of the Knights of Columbus council 6552 in Middletown, New Jersey. Vince Lombardi died in September 1970 at the age of 57 due to colon cancer.
Estimated Net Worth
Vince is one of the wealthiest football coaches in the world and is ranked as the most popular football coach. Vince Lombardi’s net worth is estimated to be around $8Million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
He introduced the NFL to ‘zone blocking’ as an offensive concept. In 1968, he starred in ‘Second effort,’ a short motivational film that has been dubbed the best-selling training film of all time.