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In the late 1950s the once vaunted Green Bay Packers were a laughing stock. They hadn't fielded a winning team in more than a decade and were very nearly in jeopardy of losing their franchise to another city. The ultimate low came in 1958, when, with 7 future Hall of Famers on the team, they went a lousy 1-10-1 under a too-soft coach, Scooter McLean. They were desperately in need of a savior, and he arrived via wood-paneled station wagon in the dead of winter from New York City.
Photographs from That First Season
(Click to Enlarge)
|The Packer offense took off when Lombardi inserted Boyd Dowler||Paul Hornung, a key player in Lombardi's offense|
|Don McIlhenny runs the ball against the Colts||A fan congratulates Lombardi as he leaves the field|
When Vince Lombardi took over as head coach for the moribund Green Bay Packers in 1959, both parties had much to prove, as Eisenberg, a former Baltimore Sun sports columnist, makes clear in this bio. Lombardi, a longtime assistant in college and pro football, hadn't been a head coach in more than a decade, and that was for a New Jersey high school. The Packers were perennial losers, with players who had become accustomed to lazy coaching and good times. Lombardi's arrival was pivotal, as his attitude and discipline inspired the Packers, who became a football powerhouse during the 1960s, while allowing for the emergence of future Hall of Famers like offensive juggernaut Paul Hornung and quarterback Bart Starr. Eisenberg is at his best detailing the players' response to Lombardi's unforgiving approach, especially in training camp, which some veterans treated as vacation. Unfortunately, the author's account gradually loses steam, as too much space is reserved for detailed game recaps that detract from Lombardi's work in constructing a champion team. Still, the book is a brisk, sometimes revealing look at Lombardi's early days in Green Bay and is a nice complement to the existing works on the legendary coach. (Oct.)
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Superbly written. About a great Coach. I felt I was part of the team, at one stage and felt like I was managing the team the next. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Finto
A well researched account of one of the major remakes of a professional football team by a remarkable football mind. Read morePublished 12 days ago by John Thayer
This was a inspiring read with many lessons in leadership found in the history of this turn around. I think the lessons gleaned here can help anyone get out of a rut and start to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by David Devonshire
Good book about leadership and laying the foundation for organizational success. If you are looking for a book about the character and principals of a good leader, then this book... Read morePublished 1 month ago by D Hayden
Though the book only deals with the first season, it is a very good read about the history of one of the NFL's great teams.Published 1 month ago by Bob
Very good book. I enjoyed reading about . The early Lombardi years.Published 1 month ago by Lory Divita
This is a fascinating account of Lombardi's experience as the Packer's new Head Coach of the league's sorriest team in 1959. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Thomas Grover