February is Black History Month and the Green Bay Packers in particular had a unique role in the ongoing struggle for equality for all.
In the 1960s, at the peak of the civil rights movement, the Packers were forming the first true dynasty in the history of the National Football League. Under the leadership of head coach Vince Lombardi, the Packers of the 1960s re-wrote the record books and dominated the league, winning five of the decade’s championships including the first two Super Bowls.
Lombardi was a pioneer in many ways but perhaps in no bigger way than how he integrated the locker room at a time of peak racial tensions in the United States.
“Work together, win together” was the legendary coach’s mantra and the Packers became an example for professional teams across many sports. Lombardi didn’t care what you looked like or where you came from. He only cared about what was in your heart and what you could do on the football field.
More than that, Lombardi went on the offensive and declared he would not tolerate any prejudice in the locker room and backed that up by having a black assistant coach on his coaching staff. He also brought more players of color to Green Bay in his role as general manager. Lombardi walked the walk.m
This approach was crucial in building the dynasty of the 1960s. Where some teams let their prejudices perhaps get in the way of acquiring the best players, Lombardi saw only talent and it paid off in an historic display of domination.
Lombardi was ahead of his time in multiple ways and we would all be wise to follow his example in many areas of life but especially in combating racial injustice.
Lombardi led the charge in the NFL when it came to integration and fighting the forces of racism and it is good to see the league finally once again start to follow his example, though much work remains to be done.
No, it isn’t a wide receiver but rather a defensive back. The secondary needs to be a primary concern as the Packers map out their off-season plans.
If there was any concern the Packers would go conservative in terms of player acquisition with a potentially lower salary cap in 2021, let Brian Gutekunst’s words put your mind at rest at least for now.
Aaron Rodgers will be crowned NFL MVP for a third time tomorrow night if the vote went as expected but there is a case for Patrick Mahomes to get his second award as well.
Ow. This takes acupuncture a little too far.