The Lombardi Trophy is awarded every year to the Super Bowl champions. How much do you know about this legendary coach? Follow Vince Lombardi's journey from humble beginnings to 5 NFL titles.
Vince Lombardi, son of Italian immigrants, defied economic odds and a small physical stature to become a star football player for Fordham University in the mid-1930s.
Despite being undersized for the position (5'8", 183 lbs.), Lombardi became the right guard in the "Seven Blocks of Granite," a nickname given to Fordham's dominant defensive front line. In this photo he pursues a Purdue ball carrier in the mid-1930s.
After several highly successful years coaching high-school football, Lombardi returned to Fordham in 1947 to coach the freshman teams in football and basketball. The following year he served as an assistant coach for Fordham's varsity football team.
In 1948 Lombardi left Fordham to accept another assistant coaching position at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), then a national power in college football. He served under Army's legendary head coach Colonel Red Blaik.
From 1954 to 1958, Lombardi served as offensive coordinator for the New York Giants and helped lead the team to the NFL title in 1956. In 1959, he became head coach of the struggling Green Bay Packers. By 1960, Lombardi had transformed the Packers into a football powerhouse.
Lombardi's most famous play became known as the "Lombardi Sweep," executed here by Paul Hornung (#5) in the 1965 NFL Championship game against the Cleveland Browns. From 1959 to 1967, Lombardi's Packers won 5 NFL championships, including victories in the first 2 Super Bowls.
Lombardi's NFL-champion Packers defeated the AFL-champion Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The venerable stadium, built for the 1932 Olympics, had a capacity of over 90,000 seats, but attracted only 61,946 for the game.
Lombardi became head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1969. In his first year he broke a string of 14 losing seasons, finishing with a record of 7'5'2. In this photo, he instructs a player during training camp on August 7, 1969.
After being diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer, Lombardi died on September 3, 1970 at the age of 57. Three days later, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle named the Super Bowl trophy the "Vince Lombardi Trophy."
Lombardi was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, in 1971.
A 14-foot statue of Lombardi was erected on a plaza outside Lambeau Field as part of the 2003 renovation of the stadium. Lombardi stands in an overcoat grasping a program, as he often did on the sideline.
Once called the "Pope of Green Bay," the Lombardi legend lives on with this present-day Green Bay Packers fan. The Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2011.