The instrument of prosperity was principally Vince Lombardi, 47, who took over before the 1959 season after five seasons as offensive coordinator for the Giants. "He took the job when nobody else would," says Olejniczak. Almost everything Lombardi did was instantly right. With his players, Lombardi was correct and uncompromising. He traded away troublesome if talented players, and put a premium on every job on the team. When one exceptionally gifted end went to general manager Lombardi for an advance on his salary, Coach Lombardi said, "I'd be glad to help—but I don't know if you can make this football team." But he was generous in helping those who helped the team, and his coaching techniques evoked admiration and great loyalty from his players. The result was the renaissance of the Packers.
The success of the early part of this season aroused new expectations in Green Bay. Nothing that happens now can wipe out the rising sense of pride and accomplishment, or the disgust of the last decade and a half. "It wasn't just that we lost in those days," says Bob Houle. "It was the way we lost—we weren't in the game after the first five minutes." Today the Packers are in every game, whether they win or lose, and that is enough. For the moment.