LOMBARDI

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There probably hasn’t been
a figure in the history of the National Football
League who’s been the subject of more
documentaries and books than coach Vince
Lombardi.

Yet despite
all
that’s been
shown and
said, you
learn quite
a few new
things in
Lombardi,
the new
featurelength
documentary
co-produced by HBO Sports and NFL Films.
For instance, the docufilm delves somewhat
deeply into the football-obsessed coach’s
complicated family life .

Also, following his first title-game appearance
with the Green Bay Packers in 1960,
Lombardi would have left town to return to
his prior employer, the New York Giants, as
head coach — but Green Bay wouldn’t let
him out of his contract.

Mainly, Lombardi paints a picture of a
man who’s more complicated than he’s
made out to be. The man who famously
said that winning wasn’t everything, it was
the only thing, later said, “I wish to Hell I’d
never said that,” sportswriter Jerry Izenberg
recounts in an interview. For Lombardi, it
was maximum effort that mattered.

And disabuse yourself of the notion that
Lombardi was a yielding taskmaster who
treated everyone the same way. Numerous former
players noted that he had a different way
of motivating each player — tearing them down
in public, then building them up privately .

Production-wise, Lombardi is your typical
solid HBO Sports documentary, with some
great vintage footage. Of particular note is the
sound film of 1967’s “Ice Bowl,” with great
snippets from Packers guard Jerry Kramer
and Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry.

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