"THE PLAYOFF BOWL IS FOR LOSERS." - V. LOMBARDI
The second part of Vince Lombardi's tenure as head coach of the Green Bay Packers begins with the gambling investigation and scandal that struck the National Football League and resulted in the suspension of two of the league's star players. Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras put up a fight over his punishment, but the Golden Boy from Notre Dame and then star halfback for the Green Bay Packers Paul Hornung swallowed hard, admitted his wrongdoing, and humbly accepted his penalty.
Vince Lombardi took Hornung's involvement hard, and so did his teammates and all Packerdom fans. They bemoaned the fact Hornung would be lost to the Packers when he was in his prime. Lombardi bit the bullet and redesigned his team to work without Hornung. The veterans on the team worked harder than ever as well. The result was one of the greatest regular seasons in their long history.
At the same time, the cold war between the NFL and its rival American Football League became a little hotter. Attendance at AFL games continued to rise, and television money for both leagues set new records. Each league played its own brand of football and drew its own kind of fans. Everyone who followed the pro sport knew that change was in the air, and it would only be a matter of time until the two leagues merged. The only question remaining was: When?
Lombardi's Destiny Part 2 takes professional football history through that exciting time of the mid-1960s.
Red Smith, sportswriter for the New York Herald Tribune, quoted Lombardi.
"I had a visit the other day from two FBI agents," the coach told his players. "They told me they are keeping a closer watch than ever on all professional sports. The attorney general reads every report that comes in on professional sports and you all know what that means. You have all had this explained before, but I will explain it again."
"There were also reports, somewhat more ominous, about bookmakers scrubbing several names off the board. Usually this means the bookmakers have reason, or think they have reason, to believe things are not what they seem."
Tuesday January 8 the Press-Gazette's sports pages were dominated by stories either about the investigation or connected to the subject of the investigation, meaning gambling and any players who might be associated with gamblers or other such lowlifes.
"That the Senate Investigations subcommittee planned a probe of the situation and that the NFL was continuing its own investigation."
New Year, New Challenges
After the Packers clinched the division title, an article appeared in the Press-Gazette that shook up all of Packerdom. ... Even NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle poured gasoline on the fire when he said, "Lombardi can go anywhere and write his own ticket.">
... Things Can't Get Any Worse
Two kicks gone awry. Just two. What if ...? There's always a "what if...?"
End to a Very Long Season
The 1964 pro football season was finally over. Prices for rookies had been going up little by little for the first five years of the cold war between the NFL and the AFL. Sonny Werblin, the managing partner of the New York Jets, had decided it was time to heat things up a bit.
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About the Author
He resides in central Wisconsin with his wife Peg on a family farm that has been in his wife’s family since 1854. They have a son, Torry and a daughter, Tegan.
Larry has four children from his first marriage: daughter Sigrid, an author in her own rite; son Paul; daughter Kristin, an award-winning screenwriter; and daughter Sonje. He also has 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The author was born in Mishawaka, Indiana and has lived in nine different states during his life and went to 11 schools growing up and three colleges after serving his country in the Navy. He is an avid researcher, genealogist, and traveler.