For the 1958 NFL season, the Packers, with five future Hall of Famers playing on the team, finished with a record of 1–10–1…..which was the worst in Packer history….as the players were dispirited the Packer shareholders were disheartened….while the Green Bay community was enraged. The angst in Green Bay extended to the NFL as a whole……as the financial viability and the very existence of the Green Bay Packer franchise were in jeopardy. On February 2, 1959, Vince Lombardi accepted the position of head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers.
Lombardi created punishing training regimens and expected absolute dedication and effort from his players. The 1959 Packers were an immediate improvement…..finishing at 7 – 5….and rookie head coach Lombardi was named Coach of the Year. The fans appreciated what Lombardi was trying to do…..and responded by selling out every game for the 1960 season. Every Packers home game—preseason, regular season and playoffs—has been sold out ever since.
In his second year, Green Bay won the NFL Western Conference for the first time since 1944……as this victory, along with his well-known religious convictions led the Green Bay community to anointing him with the nickname “The Pope”. Lombardi led the Packers to the 1960 NFL Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles…..when before the championship game, Lombardi met with Wellington Mara and advised him that he would not take the Giants’ head coaching job…..which was initially offered after the end of the 1959 season. In the final play of the game, in a drive that would have won it, the Packers were stopped a few yards from the goal line…..as Lombardi had suffered his first, and only, championship game loss. After the game, and after the press corps had left the locker room, Lombardi told his team, “This will never happen again. You will never lose another championship.”
In later years as coach of the Packers, Lombardi made it a point to admonish his running backs that if they failed to score from one yard out….as he would consider it a personal affront to him….and he would seek retribution. He would coach the Packers to win their next nine post-season games….which is a record streak not matched or broken until Bill Belichick won 10 in a row from 2002 to 2006. The Packers defeated the Giants for the NFL title in 1961 by as score of 37 – 0…..and 1962 with 16 – 7 win at Yankee Stadium…..marking the first two of their five titles in Lombardi’s seven years. After the 1962 championship win, President John F. Kennedy called Lombardi and asked him if he would “come back to Army and coach again”…..to which Kennedy received Lombardi’s tacit refusal of the request. His only other post-season loss occurred to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 3rd place Playoff Bowl after the 1964 season….which was officially classified as an exhibition game.
Including postseason but excluding exhibition games, Lombardi went on to compile a 105–35–6 record…. which is a .740 winning percentage as head coach…..as he never suffered a losing season. He led the Packers to three consecutive NFL championships in 1965, 1966 and 1967…..which was a feat accomplished only once before in the history of the league, by Curly Lambeau, co-founder of the Packers, who coached the team to their first three straight NFL Championships in 1929, 1930, and 1931. At the conclusion of the 1966 and 1967 seasons, Lombardi’s Packers won the first two Super Bowl……and that is why the Green Bay Packers were chosen to be celebrated by NFL Films John Facenda in this video herewith.