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Would Vince Lombardi be successful in today's NFL?

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by News Bot, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. News Bot
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  2. ivo610
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    I don't think so but less because of him and more because of how the league has changed.
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  3. mayo44
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    Elaboration?
  4. longtimefan
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    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Players and how they act would be my guess..

    When I was on my high school football team, our coach was the coach from the late 60's...He gave an interview on how the times have changed...

    He mentioned that his 1st stint, he could tell players to go get a hair cut and they would.....He couldn't do that in 1983..

    Players and their grades, partying, girls, etc...Weren't an issue in the 60's but in the 80's it was.

    I think it would be something similar for Lombardi
  5. ThxJackVainisi
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    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    It’s difficult to “transplant” people from one era to another and predict success or failure. This is particularly true of athletes because over time they have become bigger, stronger, and faster. But when evaluating a coach that concern is replaced with another: Could he adapt to the current era? Certainly if Vince were still alive, at age 100 he wouldn’t be physically able to coach so the question asked in this thread presupposes Vince’s date of birth be moved forward by several decades. Unless we suppose he was born later but still retained memories of a previous life we have to assume he would be fully aware of the surroundings in which he grew up and worked. In other words, in Vince’s case that means he would be fully aware of the changes in culture and society as well as the changes in football strategy.

    So if Lombardi were in his 40s or 50s today, would he be a successful coach? No one can answer such a hypothetical with facts but my answer is an absolute ‘yes’. Lombardi was a great coach and leader regardless of the sport. For example, after being hired as a teacher and football coach at St. Cecelia High School, he was offered the job of coaching the basketball team. According to more than one source, Lombardi had never coached or even played basketball so he read some books on the subject. His winning percentage in basketball at the high school was about 65% and he led the team to a state championship.

    IMO Lombardi was a master psychologist and that was his greatest attribute as HC. Culture and attitudes change but the fundamentals of human psychology do not; they transcend eras. Lombardi was also a master teacher and his main subject matter was fundamentals. Of course that means blocking and tackling in football and whether it's Pop Warner’s single wing or some version of the WCO in vogue, blocking and tackling remain fundamental to winning football. Another of his attributes transcends time: Lombardi had an attribute shared by nearly all great leaders in history: He was charismatic.

    If Lombardi were born one half century or so later if given the opportunity, could he pick up a book or two on football strategy and immediately lead an NFL team to five championships in nine years? Probably not, but I think he’d get there eventually. In fact if his career path approximated his actual one, he probably would get there more quickly than he actually did because he believed (and I think it’s reasonable to assume) his ascension through the coaching ranks was delayed because of prejudice against his Italian heritage which likely wouldn’t have held him back in a more “modern” era.
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  6. PackerFlatLander
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    Based on how he was born to be a natural leader, he could have easily succeeded in any era with any generation. During grad school at Purdue, I did a big research paper on Lombardi's leadership style, and since he died in 1970, we'll never know how he would have responded to today's culture of bling, Bentley's, hip-hop music, etc. I do know that he hated the hippie counter-culture in the late 1960's. So, we'll never know if he would have wanted to coach in today's world. But, I absolutely think he would succeed and lead a team to championships, in any era.
  7. ClemsonFan
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    No, because of his run-first offense and his super strict rules.
  8. mayo44
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    Two words: Hornung, McGee.
  9. PackerFlatLander
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    I think what he meant was ... in those days, the media protected everyone. If Hornung and McGee just spent the night banging broads and then tiptoeing in at 5:00 AM or whatever, people knew about it, but they were very protective of the person. Same thing with President Kennedy - the media knew everything, but helped to keep it shush. Fast forward to Bill Clinton and the Monica thing blew up everywhere, because that's how the media is now.

    Same analogy when speaking in terms of very different times and an entirely different era.
  10. PackFanNChiTown
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    The thing is, Vince was a visionary for his time. he built success based on discipline and a demand for loyalty. Future generations studied his success and tried to emulate it.

    So in effect you'd be asking Vince to be able to coach successfully in a league where studying his methods is practically required reading.

    To make it interesting though, say Lombardi showed up today, then studied the game film on every game and every coach since his time with the Pack...

    That would be an interesting thing to watch...
  11. 13 Times Champs
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    Great leaders transcend times. Quotes don't necessarily make you a great leader but you will find his right there with the great leaders in man's history. Lombardi would do just fine.
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  12. longtimefan
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    I will see your Max and Paul and raise you

    Pacman Jones---
    Albert Haynesworth
    And Michael Vick
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  13. mayo44
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    I would venture that Lombardi could have molded them into much better men. Basically, to say that Lombardi couldn't handle the modern NFL, but 32 current, lesser coaches can just doesn't make sense.
  14. mayo44
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    Well... some of the media anyway. The traditional American media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NYT, AP, etc.) has been in hush mode for nearly 5 years now.
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  15. PackerFlatLander
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    Indeed.
  16. gbpowner
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    Lombardi would have done just fine in the modern era. Two coaches who are tough, demanding and in control of their teams are Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick. Both have adjusted to the modern player and have done rather well. Lombardi would have made the same adjustments because he was both a student and a teacher of the game.
  17. realcaliforniacheese
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    Could he win 5 championships in 7 years in today's game? No, that is highly unlikely to happen again, Free Agency and the CAP have seen to that. Would he win a championship with this team, yeah I think so. Great Coaches are Great Coaches, but even a great coach needs great players and some luck to win a championship.
  18. PackerFlatLander
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    I think Vince won five in nine years, but regardless - that would never happen today. Parity wouldn't allow it.
  19. Oshkoshpackfan
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    Vince would certainly be a winning coach in todays game......he would have adapted and overcome to todays style of play. The reason he played a "run first" offense and smash the line defense is because of the way the game was played back then........and he was very succesfull at it.....so IMO, he would have adapted and overcome to todays challenges and been a good coach.
  20. 13 Times Champs
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    I think he meant the run from 1961 to 1967. The Packers failed to win in 1963 and 1964 only.
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  21. realcaliforniacheese
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    Yeah, I wasn't counting his whole tenure, just first to last championship.
  22. JBlood
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    He turned a bunch of guys who were 1/10 into Champions in 3 years. As TJV said, he taught fundamentals and demanded excellence. Of course he'd succeed today.
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  23. FrankRizzo
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    Yes, he would.
  24. HardRightEdge
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    While I'm in general agreement with your approach to the question, I'm afraid if he were 40 or 50 today I doubt he'd have ever gotten close to a pro head coaching job for the simple reason he would have been too small to play college football and would not have even gotten off the bench at a lot of high schools. By some reports, he was about 5'8" and played OG at Fordham at about 180 lbs. Not playing in college would be a career path killer.

    That consideration aside, I agree that in terms of temperament, intelligence, work ethic, adaptability, character and the ability to "see" into the game...would have made him an outstanding coach in today's game.

    The idea that Lombardi's temperament would not have meshed with today's players doesn't hold much water in my mind. Beside the points you noted regarding his skills as a psychologist, I would comment that Parcels and Coughlin, to name two off the top of my head, were/are crusty, demanding disciplinarians who don't suffer fools well. They've had a little success, I think, in the free agent/high pay era.

    On the point of adaptability, it is helpful to note that the difference between the game Lombardi played at Fordham in the 1930's and the one he left in 1969 is greater than the difference between the 1969 pro game and the one we see today. If you dropped him down out of heaven today, gave him a rule book, and a thousand hours of tape, he'd have it pretty well figured out. During one of the Lombardi documentaries they've been showing on NFL Network this week, one of his ex-players commented that on his death bed Lombardi was thinking about how to attack the 3-4 defenses coming out of the AFL. Something tells me Lombardi would not be caught off guard by a pistol read-option offense after the requisite amount of study.
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  25. Vrill
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    Any great coach can adapt. Unless they just refuse to adapt.

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