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Vince Lombardi Still Surprises

The popular image of Vince Lombardi is of a guy who said that "winning's not everything; it's the only thing," but that's wrong.

What he actually said was this: "winning's not everything, but the pursuit of excellence is."

Although Lombardi is mostly remembered now as an old school authoritarian, he was a above all a tremendous leader, and that involves not just dominating people but inspiring them.

He was also a guy who was keenly aware of injustice, having been discriminated against because he was, his daughter said, a dark-skinned Italian. He was absolutely in the corner of his African-American players, not just on the field but in the community, and stood for fairness and justice at all times.

We knew that.

What we had no idea of was how far ahead of his time he was when it came to gay people. For a man of his background and time, this level of fairness is truly astounding.