Bill Belichick vs. Vince Lombardi

On September 16, 2019, in NFL, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

As far as poker rooms in Las Vegas, let’s just say the one at Sam’s Town isn’t the Bellagio. It was at Sam’s Town that I caught a bizarre argument during a poker tournament. A middle-aged guy was screaming at another poker player that Vince Lombardi was a far better coach than Bill Belichick. The other guy was defending Belichick in a more sensible way saying they were both great coaches and it was hard to compare eras.  But the Lombardi backer wasn’t having it. Security actually had to be called to quell things.

During the next tournament break, I went up and talked to the loud mouth Lombardi backer. I told him I grew up in Wisconsin during the 1960’s when Lombardi ruled and told him I thought  Lomardi was the greatest NFL coach of all time. But that Lombardi would not have appreciated the embarrassing way this topic was being debated.   I thought about that weird scene watching Belichick’s Patriots dismantle the helpless and hopeless Dolphins yesterday.  There are three differences between Lombardi and Belichick.

Lombardi loved football and the NFL. He would take advantage of little known rules. But he never would cheat, or try to embarrass the league in any way. Belichick’s legacy is tainted by SpyGate and DeflateGate. No other coach fudges injury reports like the always disingenuous Belichick does.

Lombardi never would have a player like Antonio Brown on his team. The Packers were all class from Bart Starr down to their reserves. They played the game clean rarely getting a penalty.

Ray Nitschke is one of the greatest middle linebackers of all time. Yet Lombardi had to be talked out of cutting Nitschke by his assistant coaches. Lombardi was ready to cut Nitschke on the spot early in Nitschke’s career when the middle linebacker offered to buy the coach a drink after wandering into a coaches only bar that was off-limits to the players.  Later, when he was with the Redskins, Lombardi did cut a first-round draft pick because the player was late. Lombardi had his rules. Brown doesn’t seem to have any rules and is being investigated for sexual assault. Brown would not have lasted two minutes with Lombardi, who didn’t need selfish, attention-hogging, me-first head cases to win.

Lombardi never ran up a score. He had too much respect for opposing coaches and the NFL to do that. Plus he never wanted to give the opposition any extra motivation.

The Patriots were having Tom Brady pass with a 37-point lead deep into the fourth quarter against the Dolphins. The Patriots were missing both of their injured starting offensive tackles at that point. So what was the purpose and why risk an injury to Brady when the outcome really was decided before kickoff because of the roster disparity?  Lombardi would have had his backup quarterback, Zeke Bratkowski, behind center by the middle of the third quarter. Not Belichick. It’s just another reason why I go with Lombardi.


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