HBO SPORTS® AND NFL FILMS EXAMINE THE LIFE OF FOOTBALL’S
GREATEST COACH IN LOMBARDI, DEBUTING DEC. 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
The Emmy®-winning combination of HBO Sports and NFL Films explores the fascinating career and life of football’s most revered coach in the exclusive documentary LOMBARDI, debuting SATURDAY, DEC. 11 (8:00-9:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30-10:00 p.m. PT), on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: Dec. 11 (11:30 p.m. ET/11:45 p.m. PT), 13 (11:00 a.m.), 16 (1:00 a.m.), 17 (6:30 p.m.), 18 (11:30 a.m.), 21 (2:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 24 (10:30 p.m.), 25 (11:30 a.m.), 27 (noon) and 29 (4:00 p.m., 3:00 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Dec. 15 (10:30 a.m., midnight), 20 (7:30 a.m.) and 31 (5:30 p.m.)
HBO On Demand availability: Dec. 13-Jan. 10
“Vince Lombardi lived a remarkable life,” notes Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. “There isn’t a football fan alive who has not heard of Vince or does not know his famous line, ‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,’ but how much do people really know about this complicated genius? We plan to peel back the layers for a biography that will serve as the definitive account of an NFL icon.”
“A philosopher once defined a great man as someone who never reminds us of anyone else. Few men can match that criteria – Lombardi is one of them,” says NFL Films president Steve Sabol. “He is the patron saint of pro football, and we are thrilled to once again partner with HBO in telling such a significant story.”
Born in Brooklyn in 1913, Vince Lombardi received a football scholarship to the Bronx’s nationally ranked Fordham University in 1933. An undersized guard, his notorious grit and determination enabled him to play a key role as one of Fordham’s “Seven Blocks of Granite.”
Following his college football career, Lombardi started as a high school coach at St. Cecilia in Englewood, NJ, eventually becoming an assistant at the football powerhouse U.S. Military Academy. After five years at West Point under legendary head coach Col. Earl “Red” Blaik, he broke into the NFL with the New York Giants in a position similar to today’s offensive coordinator role. In his third year with the team, Lombardi, along with defensive coordinator Tom Landry, contributed to the Giants’ 1956 league championship run.
In a move that would alter the NFL landscape, Lombardi became head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers in 1959, inheriting a team that had just compiled the worst record in Packers history (1-10-1). Lombardi led the Packers to NFL championships in 1961 and 1962, followed by an unprecedented three consecutive NFL championships from 1965 to 1967, and won the first two Super Bowls, against Kansas City and Oakland, in 1966 and 1967.
On his way to becoming a coaching legend, Lombardi stamped the game with his famous “Packer power sweep,” a strategy that dominated pro football for a decade. More than any other football figure, he came to define athletic excellence and a single-minded dedication that made his name synonymous with winning at all costs, often at the price of personal relationships.
Featured interviews in LOMBARDI include: son Vincent Lombardi; daughter Susan Lombardi; brother Harold Lombardi; former players, including New York Giants Sam Huff and Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, Green Bay Packers Dave Robinson, Jerry Kramer and Hall of Famer Bart Starr, and Washington Redskins Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen; broadcaster John Madden; biographer David Maraniss; and writers Ken Hartnett, Jerry Izenberg and Bud Lea.
While with the Washington Redskins organization, Lombardi died of cancer at age 57 on Sept. 3, 1970. He is buried next to his parents and wife Marie in Middletown Township, NJ.
HBO Sports and NFL Films have a long history of acclaimed co-productions, including 2004’s “The Wild Ride to Super Bowl I” and the groundbreaking Emmy®-winning NFL training camp reality series “Hard Knocks.”
The executive producers of LOMBARDI are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein for HBO Sports and Steve Sabol for NFL Films; produced by Joe Lavine for HBO Sports and Keith Cossrow for NFL Films; Liev Schreiber narrates; music composed by Dave Robidoux of NFL Films; editor, Bill McCullough.
Newark Star-Ledger columnist Jerry Izenberg: “Whether he motivated out of logic or fear, he didn’t give a damn.”
NFL Hall of Fame head coach and TV commentator John Madden: “You have to know Vince Lombardi and if you don’t, you don’t know history.”
Biographer David Maraniss: “He loved the sensation of developing a team and then prevailing. That addiction of winning hit him at St. Cecilia and he realized that this is what he could do.”
Vincent Lombardi: “Often times he would come home fairly late at night, distracted, pull into the wrong driveway and walk into the wrong house. Physically, he’d be home. Mentally, he was always somewhere else.”
David Maraniss on Lombardi’s arrival in Green Bay: “He was completely ready. He had a fire in him unlike any other coach. The fact that he had those 20 years in the vineyards preparing himself, thinking that he was better than people realized, all those frustrations made the great Lombardi possible.”
Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Bart Starr: “When he walked into the meeting he looked us in the eyes and he said, ‘Gentlemen, we’re going to relentlessly chase perfection. Knowing full well we won’t catch it because nothing is perfect. But we’re going to relentlessly chase it because in the process we will catch excellence. I’m not remotely interested in being just good.’ Holy mackerel man! I was just up like this. I didn’t even need a seat to sit on. I was like this. I was ready to go!”
Jerry Izenberg: “He turned a lot of players around. And don’t forget one thing. You can’t coach if the player hasn’t been taught. And he taught.”
Bart Starr: “The big thing is that he recognized the talent which was there.”
Green Bay Packers great Jerry Kramer: “And you’re always kind of saving a little bit to stay alive, you know? You’re not giving him everything you got but you’re giving him quite a bit. And he wanted every ounce of ability you had. I jumped offsides one time in a scrimmage, and he got in my face, and he said, ‘Mister! The concentration period of a college student is five minutes, high school is three minutes and kindergarten is 30 seconds, and you don’t even have that, so where does that put you?’ ”
Vincent Lombardi: “It wasn’t enough to be a football coach. That wasn’t what God ordained for him. He had to see himself in a broader perspective, a teacher and a molder of young men’s character.”
Washington Redskins Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen: “Just to have the chance to play for him, that was the highlight of my whole career.”
Writer Ken Hartnett: “He was the first coach I ever heard refer to love in the locker room. He really believed that there was a Christian love that he could incorporate into the team. The love that binds his players together. The love that comes out of sacrifice.”