TODAY   |  September 08, 2011

Vince Lombardi’s legacy lives on

TODAY reflects on the life and legacy of Vince Lombardi, considered the greatest football coach of all time. His son, Vince Lombardi, Jr. and actor Dan Lauria, who played the legendary coach in Broadway , speak about his life and passions.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> gentlemen, this is a football. the season will be the start of something new. with every fiber of my being, i'm going to make you the best football team i can make you. and i'll try. and i'll try again. an if i don't succeed the first time, i will try again. and you have got to give everything that's in you in order to stop the play on defense or make the play go if you're on offense. because this may be the one play in the whole ball game that could cause the winning or the losing of the entire season. this is a cruel and tough business. we have to --

>> that's repricing his role from broadway . vince lombardi , some say the man who changed the game of football forever.

>> reporter: his name, synonymous with perfection. his words, timeless and inspiring.

>> battles are won primarily in the hearts of men.

>> reporter: vince lombardi , a towering figure in sport, remains the heart and soul of pro football . he's arguably the greatest coach there ever was.

>> he became the iconic figure of a sport that was emerging as america's new national pastime . and he did it in a way that was so overpowering.

>> reporter: lombardi stood for old fashioned virtues, hard work, discipline, loyalty.

>> winning isn't everything, but it's the only thing.

>> reporter: his image, iconic, the hat, the overcoat, the horn rimmed glasses .

>> what the hell's going on out here?

>> reporter: the consummate teacher, he produce the out tbrought out the best in his player, solidifying his ledgend in a town that bleeds football. bart starr playing under lombardi .

>> i learned a tremendous amount about leadership, about demanding more of yourself than you probably ever had done before in your lives because could you sense it, feel it, know it. that's what he was pushing for. and so as a result, i was able to go a great deal.

>> reporter: i owe almost everything to football, lombardi once said. every year the sport he loved so dearly awards the winner of the super bowl the aptly named vince lombardi trophy .

>> we're only hear because we want to win. and when we lose, we're gone.hear becaus e we want to win. and when we lose, we're gone.

>> reporter: dan lauria played the larger than life lombardi so broadway .

>> if we were successful with the play, it would be if the audience left wanting to be better at whatever endeavor in life they were pursuing.

>> reporter: single handedly, coach lombardi changed the world of sports forever. his spirit continues to motivate a new generation.

>> it is a great game. it's a game of leaders.

>> really is amazing to look back. we're joined by vince lombardi are jr. and dan loria. good to see you guys. for all that's been said about your dad, you knew him as a father and you saw the family side of him. a little more complicated.

>> yes, it was. my dad had great qualities to be a coach. he was a perfectionist and he had a temper. great qualities for a coach. not so great as a father.

>> you actually say you were happy you were away at college when he was really building the legendary status. you didn't have to be around it every day.

>> i think it would be tough to keep your feet on the ground with all the hoopla and success. and again, i was pleased to watch it from afar.

>> did you see the show on broadway ?

>> oh, yes. did a great job. my dad did other things besides yell, but, no, dan did a great i don't think.

>> and what kind of pressure is that as an actor recreating somebody who everybody knows or at least thinks they have a pretty good idea who he he is?

>> i'd like to give you one of those actor answers about how hard it was, but this was one of the ease yers roles for two reasons. one, the nfl, roger goodell was so generous with all the information we needed and actual footage. and the players. all the players. especially big dave robin so that son. they had great stories and wanted to talk about it.

>> this is not typical broadway fare and it was a huge hit.

>> we ran nine months and it was the pipe's play. the best thing for me was about 0% of the people we played for had never seen a play. as a matter of fact, the miami dolphins came and no one told them it was assigned seat and they all sat in the first three rows and nobody wanted to tell them to move.

>> got the packers and saints tonight. might sound like a weird question, about you who are you rooting for?

>> i'm rooting for the saints. my son is a coach.

>> you say that in the packers locker room. vince lombardi jr., what a pleasure. dan , as always. we're back right after your local news.