Do you set your watch several minutes ahead of time so you’ll never be late?
Hall of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi was one of those people. Famously so. Lombardi was the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967 and had an incredible regular and post-season record of 105 wins, 35 losses, and 6 ties in the NFL, with two Super Bowl victories during his tenure. Some of that success could be attributed to Lombardi Time.
So what’s Lombardi time? Lombardi always taught his players and coaching staff they should arrive fifteen minutes early to a meeting or an appointment. This extra time allows you to prepare and collect your thoughts. If a team meeting started at 5:00, Lombardi expected everyone to be present at 4:45. If a player arrived on time, he was late. Many of former Green Bay players and coaching assistants claimed that “Lombardi Time” taught them discipline and helped them to appreciate how the value of their time.
We don’t know what sort of watch Lombardi wore to keep him on (or ahead of) schedule, but the Packers organization found a way to honor their legendary coach and pay tribute to “Lombardi Time.” When the new clock outside of Lambeau Field was revealed in July 2012, it was set fifteen minutes early. A subtle nod to Lombardi’s expectations of “pre-timeliness,” the organization didn’t announce the change until someone finally noticed—five months later. This addition followed a statue of Lombardi dedicated in 2003 outside of Lambeau Field.
Vince Lombardi is a somewhat mythic figure in sports. His tough leadership won him the loyalty of his players and staff, his progressive stance on integration and acceptance stood out during a time of social tension, and his strategic genius led him to a winning career in the NFL. He’s considered one of the greatest coaches of all-time; the Super Bowl trophy bears his name. But one of his lasting contributions to the game of football and ultimately, an entire culture of sports fans is his philosophy on timeliness, or Lombardi time.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on December 10, 2012. It has since been updated for clarity and interest.
Image Credits: Header; David Boss/USA TODAY Sports.