Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win
once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them
right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and
that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay,
and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl
game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has
been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win,
and to win.
Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the
ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of
him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to
be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got
to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re 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 second.
Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of
organization – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are
the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds
hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.
It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive
games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete.
To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to
win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.
And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run,
deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There
is something in good men that really yearns for 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 men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe
in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the
greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has
worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of
battle – victorious.
By Vince Lombardi