Packers fans celebrate Lombardi's 100th birthday - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Packers fans celebrate Lombardi's 100th birthday

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GREEN BAY (WAOW) -

It is the 100th birthday of a man who changed the Green Bay Packers organization forever, Vince Lombardi.

He played an important role in giving the city of Green Bay a second name, Titletown. Each season, players fight for the greatest honor, the Vince Lombardi trophy. Now, on his birthday, his life is celebrated.

"I'm very sentimental and I had a few tears this morning, because it's hard to believe that he's 100 years old," Vince Lombardi's daughter, Susan Lombardi, told Newsline 9.

"It's a nice little reminder of who he was and what he did," said Vince Lombardi's grandson, John Lombardi.

He's one of the greatest football coaches of all time, and in a city where that sport reigns supreme, his name stands above the rest. Hundreds of fans line up each day to tour Lambeau Field, and on Lombardi's birthday, it was no different. All year, those fans hear stories of Lombardi's legacy.

"He said, 'I didn't come here to lose. All this team needs is discipline,'" said Lambeau Field Tour Guide Randy Georgeson.

It was that drive that won games. After losing the 1960 Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles Lombardi made a bold prediction.

"Lombardi told his players afterward, we didn't lose, we just ran out of time. And as long as I'm your head coach, we'll never lose another playoff game in Green Bay. Amazingly, that prediction came true," Georgeson told a tour group.

Vince Lombardi is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Of course, he's in the Packers Hall of Fame, and he has a statue dedicated to him outside Lambeau Field.

Lombardi was known for his tough coaching, and his family says it's his voice they still remember to this day.

"He was very loud and boisterous, he'd come over and come through the door and be like, 'where are the boys? In that big voice of his," John Lombardi told Newsline 9.

Fans say Lombardi changed football.

"The NFL wouldn't be what it is without Vince Lombardi," said John Miller from Fredonia.

The Lombardi family says they just want that legacy to live on forever.

"I can't see him going away. As long as there's an NFL, they'll be talking about Vince Lombardi," said John Lombardi.

Vince Lombardi's daughter and grandson made an appearance at Titletown Brewing Company in Green Bay where they announced a new beer, Lombardi Lager. It's expected to be available by football season.

***

The Packers practiced outdoors Tuesday, giving fans a look at the team. So we asked them, what would Vince Lombardi think of the NFL today?

Lombardi was known for his tough coaching style. Many fans we spoke with say he would be successful, while others say Lombardi would be shaking his head at today's game.

"He'd think they're protecting them too much, but I think he'd adapt. He's such a great coach, he'd definitely get along with everything the NFL is doing to protect the offense," said Travis Van Straten from Green Bay.

"It's a lot faster game, but I think he would adapt very well to it, and I think he would come up with plays and be just fine," said John Miller of Fredonia.

Everyone we spoke with agreed on one thing, Vince Lombardi helped make the Packers what they are today.

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