Coach Mike Sherman, Head Football Coach for Texas A&M, was the offensive line coach when I played football at A&M in the early 90′s. He later went on to be the head coach for the Green Bay Packers before returning back to A&M a couple of years ago to take over as head coach.
Both the Aggies and the Packers are rich with tradition and a remarkable history. As head coach of the Packers, he didn’t have to go far from his desk to be reminded of the greatness of Coach Vince Lombardi and all that he meant to the Packers and football in general. Many players under his his coaching felt their success not only on the field but to lift after football was a direct reflection on Coach Lombardi’s pre-season speech to his team in 1962 and the implementation of those principles every single day after that.
Coach Sherman sent out a letter to me and the rest of my fellow Aggie Football Alumni that read this: “You may have read excerpts from (Coach Lombardi’s) speech but I do not think you get the full effect of it until you read the entire speech. The following is Paul Hornung’s (Former Packer Great) recollection of the speech. It can be found also in his 2004 book, The Golden Boy.”
The Habit of Winning
by Vince Lombardi
“Winning is not a sometime thing,” Lombardi said. “You don’t win once in a while. You don’t do things right once in a while. You do them all the time. Winning is a habit.
“Every time a football player goes out to play, he’s got to play from the ground up. From the soles of his feet right to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their head. That’s OK; you’ve got to be smart to be No. 1 in any business. But in football, you’ve got to play with your heart. With every fiber of your body. If you are lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field for a second.”
“Running a football team is not different from running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party, a business. The problems are the same. The objective is to win. To beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think so.”
“It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they’re there – to compete. They know the rules and the objectives when they get in the game. The objective is to win – fairly, squarely, decently, by the rules – but to win. And in truth, I have never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down, did not appreciate the grind. The discipline. There is something in good men that yearns for – needs – discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.”
“I don’t say these things because I believe in the “brute” nature of man, or that man must be brutalized to be in combat. I believe in God and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any mans finest hours, his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victorious.”