ESPN Films Casts Robert De Niro as Vince Lombardi

According to Deadline Hollywood Robert De Niro has signed on to play Vince Lombardi in a new movie being produced by ESPN Films. Lombardi is the legendary Green Bay Packers coach from 1959 to 1967. The National Football League is involved in the project, which has a script last written by Eric Roth who also wrote Forrest Gump and The Good Shepherd, both of which are incredible well written films. 

The story spans from 1959 when Lombardi was given his first opportunity to be an NFL head coach, taking over the small-town Packers, then the worst team in the NFL, and runs through his transformation of a group of young, talented but undisciplined losers into five-time NFL champions. Also, the story highlights the long-standing rivalry that existed between Lombardi and legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, both of whom were assistants on the New York Giants team that lost the 1958 NFL Championship game.

This should make for a great film. For those of you movie geeks out there that aren't that familiar with sports here is a little background info on who Vince Lombardi was, thanks to wikipedia. 

Lombardi was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League from 1959-67, winning five league championships during his nine years. Lombardi went on to accomplish a 105–35–6 record as head coach (.750, discarding ties as was the NFL policy); and he never suffered a losing season. He led the Packers to a still-unmatched three consecutive NFL championships in 1965, 1966, and 1967; winning the first two Super Bowls, solidifying his place in history as one of, if not the greatest coach in football history.

He was diagnosed with colon cancer in late June 1970, weeks before training camp for his second season in Washington. Just a week after his death, the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy was renamed the Vince Lombardi Trophy in his honor, first awarded after Super Bowl V. Lombardi was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at its next induction ceremony in 1971.

Vince Lombardi has become virtually synonymous with the NFL. This began during his career: he was featured as the face of the NFL on the cover of Time on December 14, 1962 as part of the magazine’s cover story on “The Sport of the ’60s.” Lombardi’s players were wholeheartedly devoted to him, and his emphasis on hard work and dedication endeared him to millions who admired his values. In addition to Lombardi’s contributions to the history of pro football, Lombardi is legendary for his coaching philosophy and motivational skills. Many of Lombardi’s speeches continue to be quoted frequently today, and he is well known as being unequivocally committed to winning. One of his most famous maxims is “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,” although he did not coin the phrase and the exact words he used are disputed. “Lombardi time” is the principle that one should arrive 10–15 minutes early, or else be considered late. His chief scout, Wally Cruice, once said of Lombardi’s single-minded devotion to the game: “you didn’t talk about anything but football. If you didn’t have the facts, he didn’t want you to waste his time.”

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