I’ve talked before about how college football (and basketball) programs are either institution-defined or coach-defined. The bluebloods are institution-defined – think Michigan, USC, Ohio State etc. Those just below that threshold are largely newcomers who haven’t (yet) proven they can rise above their iconic coach or who never did prove it – think Virginia Tech under Beamer or Arizona State after Frank Kush.An interesting parallel is the idea of a coach or player defining the image of a professional sports franchise. In an article yesterday on Behind the Steel Curtain, Anthony Defeo contended that some franchises are more iconically identified with a certain coach or player than others.
In the 60s, Vince Lombardi was the face of the Packers franchise, so much so, in fact, even today, it’s hard not to talk about those championship teams without saying “Lombardi’s Packers,” with his fiery presence on the sidelines of Lambeau Field being the first image that pops into your head. Lombardi was such a larger than life figure, the Super Bowl trophy is named after him.