More than any other sports figure, Vince Lombardi transformed football into a metaphor for the American experience. The nine seasons during which he led the Green Bay Packers to five world championships is the most storied period in NFL history. Lombardi became a legend, a symbol to many of leadership, discipline, perseverance, and teamwork, and to others of an obsession with winning. Maraniss captures the myth and the man, football, God, and country in a thrilling biography that has become an American classic.
This year, on the fortieth anniversary of Vince Lombardi’s death, the immortal coach strides onto the Broadway stage in a new American play, Lombardi, based on Maraniss’s critically acclaimed book, written by Academy Award winner Eric Simonson.
©1999 David Maraniss; ©2011 Simon & Schuster
"An astonishingly good book....A triumph, a classic American biography." (Robert W. Creamer The Washington Post Book World)
"Forges a near-perfect synthesis of fine writing and fascinating material. May be the best sports biography ever published." (Ron Fimrite, Sports Illustrated)
"A superb book, one of the best on football that we have." (Michael Oriard, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
vince lombardi was at heart an actor and a playwright
the oldest son of southern italian immigrants
he longed to be, but never was, a scholarly jesuit priest
for a time he was the offensive line coach at army
he longed to be a soldier and a leader of men in battle
but despite being 28 y.o. in 1941 he never served in the military
modern life seemed artificial, complicated and weak to him
it was only on a football field that life made sense to him
it was there that his virtues, talents and courage mattered
some men need to be tested and know where they stand
they look for ways to face their fears and overcome pain
lombardi understood this better than anyone in his generation
he game these men a stage on which to demonstrate their abilities
he created a world and a set of rules that fit their needs and talents
his demands to "pay the price for victory" resonated deeply with them
all of this success came at a terrible price, of course
his alcoholic wife remained in his fearful shadow all of her life
his son and daughter can honestly say they never knew him
life in post WW II america slowly quit rewarding the male virtues
being clever, attractive, political and comfortable became significant
lombardi would have none of it and wore his old fashioned style with pride
this is easily the best sports biography i've ever heard or read
the themes and scale of the story come close to an american opera
it makes sense that people would want to bring the story to broadway
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