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Vince Lombardi
September 09, 1963
Against a background of cabalistic symbols, a coach points his team toward the DAY OF THE GAME
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September 09, 1963

Day Of The Game

Against a background of cabalistic symbols, a coach points his team toward the DAY OF THE GAME

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On the days separating the Sunday games, a professional football coach is planning, driving and worrying. All week long he goes over the plays, elucidates them to his team with sharp talk and vivid diagrams, then bullies and cajoles the players to try to make the plays work as well on the field as they seemed to on the blackboard. On Sunday—the day of the game—all the coach can do is hope that the lessons have been learned. "You can't apologize for a score," says Lombardi (left), coach of the Green Bay Packers, in his book, Run to Daylight! to be published on October 15 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. With his collaborator, W. C. Heinz, Lombard! details almost hour by hour the six days of preparation for a crucial game last season—the tough physical work, the lecture sessions with chalk, notebook and pencil, the medical problems of the team and the psychological problems of players who are always, and sometimes controversially, in the public view. The following is taken from the book.

After breakfast on the Sunday of the game, I look out the window and the sky is low and the air is loaded with moisture that has condensed into droplets on the shrubs and the lawn.

Later, as I drive across the bridge at De Pere, the first drops of rain hit the windshield. This is not going to help us a bit, but it is not going to help them, either.

If we are going to take it right to them, I think, let's do it on the first play. The first time we get that ball, go to their strength, and if that's where we're going our Brown Right-73 might be the one to open with at that. I like it, come to think of it, because there is no doubt about that middle linebacker of theirs being a great one and the sooner we go to work on him the better. What I like about it now is that it will give us at least two people on that middle linebacker. While I don't think we will discourage him, we should, if Jim Ringo and Ron Kramer both get good shots at him, force him to be at least a little concerned. That could help.

Except for half a dozen cars parked up by the entrance to the dressing rooms, the area is empty, and when I walk inside it is 10:25 and only Hank Jordan is there, getting out of his jacket in front of his dressing stall.

I look around the room at the stalls, each with the name card and jersey number on it, each with the gold helmet and shoulder pads above it, the gold pants hanging inside on the right, the green jerseys and blue warm-up sweaters on hangers on the left, the floor of each stall covered with six or eight or 10 pairs of football shoes at $23.50 a pair.

Earl Gros and Gary Barnes are undressing and in the trainer's room Ed Blaine and Ron Gassert, our two other first-year men, are standing on the tables and having their left knees taped by Bud Jorgensen and Dominic Gentile.

The veterans are coming in now—Forrest Gregg and Dave Hanner and Jim Ringo—and Hank Gremminger is getting out of his street clothes in front of his stall.

"You give the doctor another workout?" Ringo is saying to Hanner.

"That's right," Hanner answers.

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