7 Inspirational Quotations from Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi Quotations

After a disappointing Week 1 of the Green Bay Packers’ 2014 season, fans of the Green and Gold could probably use a little inspiration.

Who better to turn to than the man who took the team we love to five NFL Championship victories – including wins in the first two Super Bowls.

Vince Lombardi’s football knowledge and coaching skills are legendary. But the wisdom he imparted to his players can be priceless advice to you too.

In fact, Lombardi’s son launched a motivational speaking career based on his dad’s philosophies.

Packers great Jerry Kramer was so impacted by Lombardi’s words he would often record the coach’s speeches. Kramer’s respect for Lombardi is quite evident in the book Instant Replay about his time in football.

The first Lombardi quotation that comes to mind for me is the one you’ll hear in the video clip below. But the truth is, this was a man who took more than football very seriously. He was a man who saw potential in others and worked to bring it out – even if he had to use his temper to do it.

1. “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”

Vince Lombardi was well known for his work ethic as well as demanding the same from the football players he coached.

He understood that the more you have invested in something – including time, money and sweat equity – the more likely you’d be to stick with it until you accomplish what you set out to do.

2. “It’s not whether you got knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

This quotation has almost become a bit of a cliché. But perhaps clichés can only become cliché because there is so much truth in them they get burned into our cultural lexicon.

It’s one of the many ways Lombardi used words to illustrate that focusing on failure is fruitless. We all get knocked down. What really matters is that you don’t stay down – you keep trying.

3. “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

It does take courage to do anything that’s worthwhile.

And it’s also worth remembering that you may be on top one day and in the gutter the next.

Vince Lombardi Jr. remembers watching his father’s countenance change from celebrating a victory to focusing on next week’s match-up. He enjoyed the win, but never spent too much time basking in the warmth of victory, because then he might not be prepared for the next battle.

Sometimes fear of failure is hardest to overcome after a major success. That’s why it is so impressive when football teams find a way to win consecutive titles. Win or lose – another challenge is waiting for you tomorrow.

4. “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.”

Lombardi always believed in his team. He was hard on them. He expected a lot from them. But that was because he had confidence in them.

When you truly believe in something – it could be a person, a cause, or yourself – others notice. Then they can’t help but become believers themselves.

Just keep in mind – it works both ways. When you display doubt, hesitation and uncertainty, faith is lost.

5. “Football is a game of inches and inches make the champion”

In football, you might look at the big plays and think “That’s how we won the game!”

But what about the quarterback sneak on 4th and inches that kept the drive alive? Without those inches, the 40 yard touchdown pass would have never happened.

Sometimes we look at people who’ve had success and assume it’s all thanks to one lucky event in their lives. What we often miss is that those people spent years working towards success, bit by bit, drip by drip, step by step.

The little things add up – and they do make a difference.

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

No, we are not all blessed with the same talents and abilities.  Yes, some of us may be more gifted than others.

Still – it’s obvious Lombardi believed that every individual has something to offer the world. You have no excuse not to try, no reason not to pursue your dreams.

We can’t all be Aaron Rodgers. But what can you do? It’s worth thinking about.

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

Perfectionism is not a good quality. Being a perfectionist means you’re more likely put off doing what you were meant to do – all because it still isn’t quite right.

Perfectionists can’t deal with failure. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to always be perfect, and so failure is inevitable.

On the other hand, Lombardi wisely points out that the pursuit of perfection is definitely admirable. The higher you aim, the higher you go. Make catching excellence your ultimate goal – not perfection.

Lombardi’s Last Words…

vince lombardi wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Of course, some of the words most-often attributed to Lombardi are “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

Throughout his career he’d clarify and expound on that notion. He once asked – “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”  And also noted – “Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.”

He was sometimes described as a man who could be verbally abusive to his wife and family – perhaps taking the same fiery personality and hard-nosed approach he used in coaching to his home life.

However, when Vince Lombardi was fighting colon cancer on his death bed, it certainly would seem he had his priorities in line.

His dying words to his wife, Marie, were – “Happy Anniversary. I love you.”

It’s clear Lombardi’s relationships with his son, daughter and wife were sometimes strained.  Yet after he was gone, it seems that despite his shortcomings as a father and husband, they all came to take pride and appreciate the man for what he represented to so many people.

The seven memorable quotations we’ve listed in this post are only short quips. But I wanted to include one last bit of wisdom from the legendary coach that sums it all up.

“After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”

It’s pretty clear. Vince Lombardi was a true winner – in football and in life.

Listen to Paul Harvey’s Radio Eulogy for Vince Lombardi

You can learn much more and find other inspirational quotes at VinceLombardi.com.

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Image Credit: Katie Harbath via Flick Creative Commons

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