I turn 45 tomorrow and I’ve been saving up writing about two role models for the next few years.
First is Vince Lombardi, according to ESPN and many others the Greatest Coach in NFL history. According to Wikipedia:
He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total NFL Championships in seven years, in addition to winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. Lombardi is considered by many to be one of the best and most successful coaches in professional football history. The NFL’s Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971
Lombardi began coaching as an assistant and later as a head coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. He was an assistant coach at Fordham, at the United States Military Academy, and with the New York Giants before becoming a head coach for the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967 and the Washington Redskins in 1969. He never had a losing season as a head coach in the NFL, compiling a regular season winning percentage of 72.8 (96–34–6), and 90% (9–1) in the postseason for an overall record of 105 wins, 35 losses, and 6 ties in the NFL.
The web has plenty of pages extolling his coaching achievements, though few beat the extended quote in What It Takes To Be Number One.
Lombardi’s fame overwhelmingly came from his coaching in Green Bay. Few know it was his first head coaching position besides a high school team in New Jersey almost twenty years earlier.
Lombardi’s age when he started coaching the Packers: 45 years.
George Foreman is considered by everyone who knows anything about boxing as one of the greatest boxers of all time. According to Wikipedia, he
was a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Outside the sport he went on to become an ordained minister, author and entrepreneur.
After a troubled childhood, Foreman took up boxing and was a gold medalist at the 1968 Olympics. He won the world heavyweight title with a second-round knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1973.
Why mention Foreman? Because of what he did at age 45. The story from Wikipedia:
Having lost his last fight against Morrison, Foreman was unranked and in no position to demand another title shot. His relatively high profile, however, made a title shot against Moorer, 19 years his junior, a lucrative prospect at seemingly little risk for the champion.
Foreman’s title challenge against Moorer took place on November 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Foreman wearing the same red trunks he had worn in his title loss to Ali 20 years earlier. This time, however, Foreman was a substantial underdog. For nine rounds, Moorer easily outboxed him, hitting and moving away, while Foreman chugged forward, seemingly unable to “pull the trigger” on his punches. Entering the tenth round, Foreman was trailing on all scorecards. However, Foreman launched a comeback in the tenth round and hit Moorer with a number of punches. Then a short right hand caught Moorer on the tip of his chin, gashing open his bottom lip and he collapsed to the canvas. He lay flat on his back as the referee counted him out.
In an instant, Foreman had regained the title he had lost to Muhammad Ali two decades before. He went back to his corner and knelt in prayer as the arena erupted in cheers. With this historic victory, Foreman broke three records: he became, at age 45, the oldest fighter ever to win the World Heavyweight Championship; 20 years after losing his title for the first time, he broke the record for the fighter with the longest interval between his first and second world championships; and the age spread of 19 years between the champion and challenger was the largest of any heavyweight boxing championship fight.
Here he is, winning that fight:
And after winning it:
More Vince Lombardi
As if Lombardi’s older-than-45 achievements in Green Bay weren’t enough, the Washington Redskins hired him later, giving him ownership in the team. He brought them their first winning season in fourteen years.
More George Foreman
Notice the word “entrepreneur” at the end of the first paragraph of Wikipedia’s description of him? That refers to the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, commonly known as the George Foreman Grill, brought to market in 1994, the year Foreman turned 45.
Think of the George Foreman Grill as just a late-night informercial product? Over 100 million units have sold. Foreman sold his naming rights for it in 1999 for $137 million. Combined with his profit-sharing, he earned over $200 million from it, all after his forty-fifth birthday.
Here he is, enjoying his entrepreneurial success:
Who are your role models for your birthday?
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