I’m coming in hot here.
With all due respect to the legacy and memory of Vince Lombardi, we’re about due for a massive change in the NFL.
It’s time to change the name of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
After the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LI, that gave William Stephen Belichick a grand total of seven Super Bowl wins as an assistant coach and head coach.
No coach in NFL history has won more Super Bowls than Belichick, who might be able to sneak out a couple of more crowns before he rides off into the sunset.
Of course, the longtime standard bearer for winning in the NFL has been Vincent Thomas Lombardi. Between his time as the offensive coordinator of New York Giants and head coach of the Green Bay Packers, he won six NFL titles and two Super Bowls.
Due to Lombardi’s tremendous success, then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle renamed the World Professional Football Championship, the “Vince Lombardi Trophy” in 1970 to honor the late coach after he passed away due to cancer in 1968.
However, things change and the unreachable star has been reached.
Belichick’s legend is at seismic proportions at this point. Thus, here is what I’m suggesting.
Upon Belichick’s retirement and the eventual dismissal/retirement/resignation of commissioner Roger Goodell, the Lombardi Trophy should be renamed either the Bill Belichick Trophy or worst case scenario, the “Belichick-Lombardi Trophy.”
It’s unlikely this will happen during Goodell’s run because, you know, PATRIOTS and the fact that NFL owners would probably cut that $40 million plus annual salary to the bone if he tried such a maneuver.
So, I’d hope it would happen somewhere down the line in the future during the post-Goodell era.
I get it. Some people will be a little put out by having a guy who was linked to two “cheating” scandals with his name on the trophy.
However, this man has succeeded at such an unprecedented level that it is time to give this serious consideration. This dude has been rolling strong in Foxborough for nearly two decades. We’ve never seen anything like this in the modern NFL from one head coach.
Since the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule in 1978, Belichick has won 14 games or more in a regular season FIVE TIMES. To put that into perspective, Hall of Fame coaches Tony Dungy, Tom Landry, Marv Levy, Chuck Noll, Don Shula, and Bill Walsh turned that trick a combined four times.
Three of those five Belichick teams won the Super Bowl including the Comeback Kids that just won Super Bowl LI. And only one didn’t actually reach the Super Bowl (the 2010 Pats).
He is the only coach in NFL history to lead his team to perfect 16-0 regular season. While the conclusion of that movie ended in bitter fashion in the first of two Super Bowl losses to the New York Giants, that achievement is undeniable.
For a further point of comparison, let’s revisit the work of Chuck Noll. Essentially, the prime of Noll’s coaching career spanned from 1972 (his first playoff appearance with the Steelers) to 1980.
He won four Super Bowls in six seasons from 1975 to 1980 but never returned to the big game and reached just one conference title game from 1981 to 1991. The latter being his final year in coaching.
Then you have longtime Belichick hater, Don Shula. The legendary Colts and Dolphins head coach appeared in six Super Bowls, winning two of them. He coached Super Bowls in three different decades and of course, headed up the only undefeated champion of the Super Bowl era.
Yes, Shula won 328 games…but owns a 2-4 record in Super Bowls and it could be easily reasoned that he massively underachieved with the greatest pure passer in NFL history – Dan Marino.
Marino’s Dolphins reached Super Bowl XIX – a 38-16 loss to the 15-1 San Francisco 49ers. It was only time Marino reached a Super Bowl. His subsequent years in Miami featured a pair of home losses in the AFC title game and a litany of poor drafts.
Miami’s inability to surround Marino with a suitable defense and multi-faceted offense wasted the prime years of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
Shula was the captain of that ship and offered little in the way of change in Miami following their loss to the 49ers.
The point is Belichick has stayed sharp and focused on winning. Whenever the end arrives for him, the malaise that gripped Noll and Shula for a decade will not catch up with the ex-New York Giants defensive coordinator.
The 64-year-old Belichick probably will not be around roaming the sidelines a decade from now. He is no dummy. When the descent begins, he will get out of the coaching business altogether in short order.
Whenever that day comes, it is time to do what is right for business.
The Bill Belichick Trophy.
The Belichick Trophy.
The Belichick-Lombardi Trophy.
Pick a name, NFL. It’s time for a change.