The Habit of Winning
by Vince Lombardi
Winning is not a sometime thing. You don't win once-in-a-while. You don't do things right once-in-a-while. You do them right all the time.
Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don't ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game--but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be the first in anything we do and to win, and to win, and to win.
Every time a football player goes out to play, he's got to play from the ground up. From the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That's okay - you've got to be smart to be number one in my business. But, more important, you've got to play with your heart. With every fiber of your body. If you are lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he's never going to come off the field second.
Running a football team is no different from running any other kind of organization--an army, a political party, a business. The problems are the same. The objective is to win. To beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don't think it is.
It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive team. That's why they're here--to compete. They know the rules and the objectives when they get in the game. The objective is to win--fairly, squarely, decently, by the rules--but to win. And in truth, I have never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, did not appreciate the grind--the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for...needs...discipline and the harsh reality of head-to-head combat.
I don't say these things because I believe in the "brute" nature of man, or that men must be brutalized to be
competitive. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man's finest hours, his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victorious.