This year appears to be the year of remembering the late Green Bay Packers and Washington NFL team coach Vince Lombardi. HBO and NFL Films will team up for a new documentary that will air in December.
In addition, there’s a Broadway play on Lombardi starring Dan Lauria, formerly of the Wonder Years and Judith Light, formerly of One Life To Live and Who’s The Boss, that opens later this year. The play is based on the great book written by noted historian David Maraniss.
The documentary on Lombardi will also utilize Maraniss in the film as well as have interviews with family, former players and writers. HBO usually does well in the sports documentary genre and it continues a partnership with NFL Films that goes back to the original Inside the NFL, Hard Knocks and other documentaries.
Here’s the press release from HBO Sports.
HBO SPORTS® AND NFL FILMS EXAMINE THE LIFE OF FOOTBALL’S GREATEST COACH IN LOMBARDI, DEBUTING DEC. 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBONEW YORK, June 28, 2010 – The Emmy®-winning combination of HBO Sports and NFL Films will explore the fascinating career and life of football’s most revered coach in LOMBARDI, it was announced today by Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. The documentary debuts SATURDAY, DEC. 11 in prime time, exclusively on HBO.“Vince Lombardi lived a remarkable life,” said Greenburg. “There isn’t a football fan alive who has not heard of Vince or does not know his famous line, ‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,’ but how much do people really know about this complicated genius? We plan to peel back the layers for a biography that will serve as the definitive account of an NFL icon.”“A philosopher once defined a great man as someone who never reminds us of anyone else. Few men can match that criteria – Lombardi is one of them,” says NFL Films president Steve Sabol. “He is the patron saint of pro football, and we are thrilled to once again partner with HBO in telling such a significant story.”Born in Brooklyn in 1913, Vince Lombardi received a football scholarship to the Bronx’s nationally ranked Fordham University in 1933. An undersized guard, his notorious grit and determination enabled him to play a key role as one of Fordham’s “Seven Blocks of Granite.”Following his college football career, Lombardi became an assistant at the football powerhouse U.S. Military Academy. After five years at West Point under legendary head coach Col. Earl “Red” Blaik, he broke into the NFL with the New York Giants in a position similar to today’s offensive coordinator role. In his third year with the team, Lombardi, along with defensive coordinator Tom Landry, contributed to the Giants’ 1956 league championship run.In a move that would alter the NFL landscape, Lombardi became head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers in 1959, inheriting a team that had just compiled the worst record in Packers history (1-10-1). Employing an incredibly effective combination of grueling conditioning regimens and motivational philosophy, he earned the respect of his team and won the 1959 Coach of the Year Award. Lombardi led the Packers to NFL championships in 1961 and 1962, followed by an unprecedented three consecutive NFL championships from 1965 to 1967, and won the first two Super Bowls, against Kansas City and Oakland, in 1966 and 1967.On his way to becoming a coaching legend, Lombardi stamped the game with his famous “Packer power sweep,” a strategy that dominated pro football for a decade. More than any other football figure, he came to define athletic excellence and a single-minded dedication that made his name synonymous with winning at all costs, often at the price of personal relationships.Featured interviews in LOMBARDI include: Lombardi’s son, Vince Lombardi Jr.; daughter Susan Lombardi; brother Harold Lombardi; former players, including New York Giants Sam Huff and Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, Green Bay Packers Willie Davis, Jerry Kramer and Hall of Famer Bart Starr, and Washington Redskins Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen; broadcaster John Madden; biographer David Maraniss; and writer Jerry Izenberg.While with the Washington Redskins organization, Lombardi died of cancer at age 57 on Sept. 3, 1970. He is buried next to his parents and wife Marie in Middletown Township, NJ.HBO Sports and NFL Films have a long history of acclaimed co-productions, including 2004’s “The Wild Ride to Super Bowl I” and the groundbreaking Emmy®-winning NFL training camp reality series “Hard Knocks,” which launches its sixth season Aug. 11 on HBO.The executive producers of LOMBARDI are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein for HBO Sports and Steve Sabol for NFL Films; produced by Joseph M. Lavine for HBO Sports and Keith Cossrow for NFL Films; Liev Schreiber will narrate; music composed by Dave Robidoux of NFL Films; editor, Bill McCullough.