Vince Lombardi
Leadership Case Study

Vince Lombardi Leadership Case Study is a part of Leadership Stories, a series of biographies of great leaders in history that have impacted the world in a huge way.

Vince Lombardi Leadership
Who was He?

Vince Lombardi is one of America’s most famous football coaches. He was the assistant coach for the New York Giants from 1954 – 1958 and served as Head Coach for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.

He led them to five league championships during his 9 years as coach from 1959 to 1967.

A Short History

Vince Lombardi was born in Brooklyn in June 11 1913.

At age 15, Vince Lombardi wanted to become a Catholic Priest, but later on decided otherwise. He was an outstanding football and baseball player in St. Francis Preparatory School.

At age 20, he played football for Fordham University and although he was undersized, he was a named along with 6 others as the Seven Blocks of Granite, which was given to the Fordham team’s offensive line.

Lombardi’s first coaching job began at St. Cecilla as assistant coach. When the head coach left, he stayed on in St Cecilla to serve as head coach for 7 years.

After that, he would go on to his second coaching job at the U.S Military Academy as assistance coach. This experience in the military would shape his coaching style for many years to come.

His first experience with the NFL came in 1954, when he went in as assistant coach under the New York Giants. Lombardi with his team managed to turn the New York Giants around and win their first league title in 1956.

He went on the Green Bay Packers in 1959 as head coach and to a team who had basically almost lost their whole season. He turned this team around and in the span of 9 years, they won 5 league championships, winning two Super Bowls.

Lombardi eventually became known as one of the best football coaches in the history of football.

Awards and Honours

These are some of the awards and honors that Vince Lombardi has received:

• The Green Packer’s Stadium was renamed Lambeau Field in honor of Lombardi in 1967
• Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic in Green Bay was named after him.
• NFL’s World Championship Trophy was renamed Vince Lombardi Trophy shortly after his death
•The Boy Scouts of America awarded Vince Lombardi the Silver Buffalo Award.

Vince Lombardi 
Leadership Lessons

1.It’s about Winning
Lombardi saw the importance of winning in any game and in life. He couldn’t accept defeat as final and he was single minded in winning his games.

People all want to be part of a winning team; they want to be associated with success and victories. You need to desire to win and outplay the competition and not fall into the trap of mediocrity. 

2.Pay the Price it Takes
Lombardi knew that the price of success was hard work. He believed it and he gave his team an extremely regimental training. This inculcated discipline in them, and helped them win their championships.

You cannot bypass hard work for it is the only way to success. Remember that for the bigger success you desire, the more hard work you have to put in. Pay the price in hard work and tell your team to pay for the price for it too. 

3.Teamwork is Essential
Lombardi saw the importance of teamwork and he emphasized a lot on it. He saw that team work was the way to win, whether it was in the game or in life.

We need each other to succeed. As a leader, you need your team fully behind you and supporting you if you want to see success corporately. You need to emphasize the importance of teamwork and build an organization that has a good team culture. 

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Vince Lombardi Leadership

Best Quotes from
Vince Lombardi Leadership

The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.

The leader can never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert.

The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.

People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.

Success demands singleness of purpose.

Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.

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.

If you can accept losing, you can't win.


Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it.

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I never want to finish second again.

We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time.

Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.

It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner, when you're number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you're not a winner.

Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.

Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!


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.

We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.

Winners never quit and quitters never win.

Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all 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 habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything.

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.

The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.

Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.

Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.

Video on
Vince Lombardi Leadership

Other Links

Wikipedia:A highly detailed account of Lombardi's life : The Official Site of Vince Lombardi

Other Sports Leaders

» Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi is one of America’s most famous football coaches. He was the assistant coach for the New York Giants from 1954 – 1958 and served as Head Coach for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.

» John Wooden
John Wooden was an American basketball coach. His record of winning the NCAA Championships 10 times with the University of California, Los Angeles college team is unprecedented.

» Alex Ferguson
Alex Ferguson is the famous manager of the world renowned Manchester United, which is known by many as the best soccer team in the world. Alex Ferguson is the man behind the rise of this club from mediocrity to greatness.

» Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho is the current coach of Real Madrid FC, one of the most successful football clubs in the world today. Having many successes with clubs like Chelsea, he has a self-proclaimed nickname "The Special One".

» Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is considered one of the world’s greatest boxers and a three time World Heavyweight Champion. His professional record of 56 wins to 5 losses is unprecedented.

» Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson is the current coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA.

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