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Lombardi and His Quarterback

When Vince Lombardi arrived in Green Bay, he needed a quarterback to lead his team. He realized that Bart Starr, a 17th round draft choice from Alabama who was buried in the depth chart, could be that guy. Lombardi learned an early lesson from his quarterback. After chewing out Starr at practice one day, the coach found the quarterback in his office at the end of practice. “I don’t know how you expect me to be the leader here if you are going to chew me out in front of the team. If my butt needs chewing, do it here in the office away from everyone else,” Starr said. Lombardi was loud and emotional and often profane, but he understood how to motivate people and didn’t mind changing his ways to better someone’s performance. Starr said Lombardi never chewed him out in front of the team again. Lombardi knew he had found a quarterback with the character and leadership skills he desired.

Starr was impressed with his coach from the very beginning. When Lombardi met with the team for the first time, Starr had the overwhelming sense of impending greatness. He called his wife and told her, “We are going to start winning and we are going to start winning NOW!”

When Bart Starr first heard that New York Giant offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi was going to be the Packers new head coach he wanted to learn as much as much about him as he could. He discovered that people said Lombardi, a devout Catholic, went to church every morning of his life on his way to work. Starr was a very religious person and could not wait to meet Lombardi. After seeing Lombardi’s coaching style the first week of practice, Starr said, “This man needs to go to church everyday!”

Bart Starr and Tom Brady are the only NFL quarterbacks to lead their team to five championships.


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