Does Football Have Anything to Do with Leadership?

In between finishing my book, Leaders Who Last, I’m cleaning out my files. I found this great quote from Sonny Jurgensen who quarterbacked for the Redskins under the great football coach Vince Lombardi for one season in 1969: “Coach Lombardi called me into his office once he got settled in, and his first words to me were, ‘I’ve heard a lot of things about you as a person and as a player, and I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of things about me. Well, that’s got nothing to do with our relationship. I just ask one thing of you: I want you to be yourself. Don’t emulate anyone else. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Just be yourself.’’ (Winning Is the Only Thing, ed. Jerry Kramer, p. 251.)

I know it’s not even football season, and I’m not really a football fan. Still, this comment from a coach known to be hard-driving struck me a decade ago when I filed it away, and again last week.

2 Responses to Does Football Have Anything to Do with Leadership?

  1. Great story, Rebecca. Thanks.

  2. My parents were camp counselors under the direction of Edward J. (Doc) Storey, at a boy’s camp in the Berkshires. Doc Storey was a nationally recognized authority on how to kick a football. He was also one of those wise people who knew how to get the best out of the campers and the counselors. I remember, as a young girl, at many a Sunday evening campfire, sitting on a bench in the campfire circle, listening to Doc Storey hold forth with stories of life and leadership. So, I do think that football must have a lot to do with leadership if Doc is any indication of that.

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