There’s no shortage of Super Bowl predictions out there this week – everyone from Boomer Esiason to Andray Blatche to Nate Silver to Frankie the Saki Monkey has provided a succinct and salient reason why either the 49ers or the Ravens will win this coming Sunday. And you know what? They’ve all got an approximately 50% chance of being correct. But we here at Someone Still Loves You Alberto Riveron had bigger ideas. “Who knows more about what it takes to win the Lombardi Trophy than the GUY THE TROPHY IS NAMED AFTER?” we said to ourselves. So after calling up Browns VP of Player Personnel Mike Lombardi and learning that he was not the namesake of the Super Bowl Champion’s trophy, we dug a little deeper in our Rolodex and found someone even better: former Packers coach Vince Lombardi. Read his thoughts below and get prepared to learn…and be inspired…
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT HERE? I’m looking at a bunch of clowns on tape here that wouldn’t know the intricacies of the toss sweep play if it hit ’em in the head with a baseball bat and asked for their wallet and identification. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said a hundred thousand times: you need A SEAL HERE, A SEAL HERE, and RAM IT UP THE ALLEY. That motto has helped me in whatever walk of life I have encountered: whether we’re talking about my time with the Packers or the deck and patio staining job I had back in Brooklyn in my teenage years or the legendary bowling competitions I would undertake with Charlie Conerly during my years as the offensive coordinator for the Giants. You can only be successful at something if you’ve done it thousands and thousands of times, building up so many repetitions that it makes the useless part of your brain – the portion that is weak, fearful, and cries out to Mama at the slightest hint of turmoil – sit in complete and obedient silence. And I’m not seeing that type of DEDICATION TO PERFECTION when I throw on the tape of these teams that are playing today. Of course, the rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement may have something to do with that, too; you can’t practice your players for twelve hours a day (or longer if they haven’t gotten the first 5,000 repetitions of the toss play correct) under the current rules. Sometimes I think it was easier to coach back in the old days. The players make too much money now. But I digress.
I always said that the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. You look on any NFL roster today and you can find enough talent to to field a winning team – except Jacksonville. That’s a lost cause. But every other team in the league could be turned into a winning ballclub if they had the heart and desire to work harder than everyone else and make winning their only objective in their profession. The sad truth, however, is that few men actually do whatever it takes to be successful – they hang to a few bad vices, watch only 11 hours of film a day instead of 23, and settle for “great” instead of “GREATNESS IS FOR WEAKLINGS, I WANT TO BE FREAKING IMMORTAL.” To reach that last stage, that hardest stage to attain, everything in your life must revolve around your profession.
And I mean everything. Look at me, I’m a Lombardi! I grew up the son of Italian immigrants in Brooklyn! You think my mother didn’t make the greatest spaghetti and meatballs human taste buds have ever savored? YOU’RE WRONG. YOU’RE DEAD WRONG. I loved my mother’s spaghetti and meatballs more than anything other than football, but it came with a terrible side effect. Approximately two hours and thirty minutes after consumption, the meatballs would march on through my digestive system as reliably as Paul Hornung would womanize until all hours of the morning and cause me great gastrointestinal distress for roughly thirty minutes, sometimes as long as forty. During an especially long reign on the can during my time as assistant coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey, I determined that this wasted time was an unacceptable detriment to my professional aspirations. Right then and there, I swore off Mama’s spaghetti and meatballs forever and vowed only to eat tuna fish sandwiches every day until the day I died. And for the next thirty-one years, I kept that vow – the tuna fish provided acceptable sustenance to ease my hunger, my bowels no longer howled out in distress like a banshee haunting the spirit of King James I of Scotland, and my COMPLETE attention could now be directed toward perfecting the Packer Sweep (even though I wouldn’t become the coach of the Packers for another twenty years).
THAT is the type of dedication that is necessary to become a true winner – you must be willing to forsake even your dear mother’s cooking for the sake of the greater goal. Have Jim and John Harbaugh done the same thing? THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE MUST BE ASKING DURING MEDIA DAY AND NOT SOME INANE RIFF-RAFF ON WHETHER THEY LIKE BARBECUE OR NOT! They’re grown American men, of course they like barbecue! The bigger question is: are they willing to submit to the desire of WINNING even over the desire of delicious barbecued ribs? Why didn’t any of you jokers ask THAT question Tuesday afternoon, huh? Ah, you’re all a bunch of birdbrains. We’ll deal with this later.
I must say, however, that when all is said and done, football is still football. And even if the two teams playing on Sunday – the 49ers and the replacement Colts whose name I can’t remember at the moment – are a pale imitation of the sport at its highest peak, there are still players I’m looking forward to watching Sunday. Joe Flacco – what an bazooka for an arm and what a delightfully ethnic schnozz! He reminds me of Norm Snead before poor Norm had his confidence irrecoverably shaken from playing for the Eagles too many years. And the man who’s starting against him – the Kaepernick fellow – he can throw it just as hard AND run like a deer! My God! I loved Bart Starr to death, but if I’d been fortunate enough to get my hands on that fellow early in my career, we would have won ten championships in a row! And this Patrick Willis plays with a real mean streak to him – he doesn’t like to hear himself talk as much as that Ray Lewis, but he hits just as hard as that guy ever did. By golly, whenever I see or that Bowman fellow crunch a tight end going over the middle, it makes me want to throw my pads back on and smack the bejeezus out of some poor shmuck running an in route. YOU’VE NEVER FELT ADEQUATELY ALIVE UNTIL YOU’VE HIT A LAD SO HARD, HIS SNOT WINDS UP IN THE BACK OF YOUR NOSE! As far as I’m concerned, that’s real heaven on earth. None of this televangelist mumbo-jumbo that promises you lifelong happiness if you send them a check for $50 every week. SOME OF US NEED TO SAVE OUR MONEY FOR UPGRADING OUR FILM PROJECTERS, MISTER OSTEEN!
In summary: any of my ’60s Packers teams would beat either of the two teams playing on Sunday by approximately two touchdowns and thus this game is meaningless. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a tuna fish sandwich that’s calling my name and 6,000 more repetitions of the toss sweep play to get through before sundown. IT’S JANUARY, WE LOSE ALL SEMBLANCE OF LIGHT BY 5:30! Ah, the time I waste writing these things…