10.6.13

PLATO, ARISTOTLE, LOMBARDI.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel interviews Packer alumni, about whether Vince Lombardi's methods would still work, 100 years from the date of his birth. "Lombardi would be successful today, his players maintain, because his coaching foundation was built on fundamentals, hard work, discipline, execution and the pursuit of perfection — building blocks that never go out of style."  It's about saying no and upholding standards.
There is no denying Lombardi was a task-master, a stern man who relentlessly demanded more from his players than they thought they could give. At times, they hated him for it.

But with few exceptions, they put up with it because the payoff — victories and titles and glory — far outweighed the pain of grass drills and the humiliation of Lombardi's stinging rebukes.
Retrospectively, though, too many Lombardi "imitators" make too much of his one-liners, and too little about his efforts to get to know the motive powers of his players. "A master psychologist, he knew instinctively when to get in a player's face and when to pat him on the fanny or tousle his hair." The real nasty people were elsewhere in professional football, and those nasty people don't have the Super Bowl trophy named for them, let alone many Lombardi Trophies in their teams' offices.
Lombardi's teams were superior, quite simply, because they blocked and tackled better than did the other teams. He drilled his players, over and over, until execution became second nature and mental mistakes were all but eliminated.

"He would be successful in any era," said UW-Milwaukee basketball coach Rob Jeter, whose father, Bob, played cornerback for Lombardi. "The fundamentals are constant over time. Being a professional, how you handle yourself, those messages are all still good."

Furthermore, whatever Lombardi demanded of his players, he demanded of himself. He was in the trenches with them, exhorting and imploring and teaching.

[Safety Tom] Brown said Lombardi had an astonishing grasp of his offense and knew every assignment for every play for every position. He took no shortcuts as a coach.

"I think the first thing everybody noticed was what a hard worker he was," [offensive tackle Bob] Skoronski said. "When we got ready to open the season, we were going to be working on the power sweep for hours, not for minutes. He was 100% committed on his part with time and energy.

"I can't imagine that part of it is any different in today's game."
I once had a student inquire whether we would ever stop thinking about comparative advantage. Nope: if you get opportunity cost, specialization, substitution, and arbitrage you will get economics.

Where do you suppose I got that from?

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