Lombardi Never Went in for Tech Support

Times Staff Writer

The bowl championship series may eliminate the use of computers, which most agree would be a good thing. Computers and football have a history of incompatibility.

Jerry Izenberg of the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., recalls how Vince Lombardi reacted after a technician first delivered a computer to the Green Bay Packer front office.

Wrote Izenberg: “ ‘Coach Lombardi,’ the technician said, ‘this is going to change the way you coach football forever.’


“The next day, he told the tech: ‘Forget it. I asked it just one question and couldn’t get an answer. I wanted to know whether a guy with a 135 IQ could be depended on to hit someone. It didn’t know the answer any more than I did.’ ”

Trivia time: From 1954 to ‘58, Lombardi served as an assistant coach with the New York Giants under Jim Lee Howell. Lombardi was in charge of the offense. Who was the assistant coach in charge of the defense?

A simple game: Lombardi once said, “Football is blocking and tackling. Everything else is mythology.”

It was also Lombardi who said, “This game is for madmen.”

Another viewpoint: President Calvin Coolidge, upon meeting George Halas and Red Grange of the Chicago Bears, said, “How are you young gentleman? I’ve always admired animal acts.”

Spying doesn’t pay: The only other time Oklahoma and Louisiana State played before Sunday night was in the 1950 Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma practiced for the game at a high school field in Biloxi, Miss.

A few days before the game, according to Associated Press, a spy was found watching practice, covered by a tarp and peeking over a fence with binoculars and camera. The spy was Walter “Piggy” Barnes, a former LSU lineman who later played for the Philadelphia Eagles.


The espionage hardly helped. Oklahoma won, 35-0.

It was over: Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press knew when USC’s Rose Bowl victory over Michigan was in the bag.

“When the California kids start throwing to their own quarterback, it’s time for the Midwesterners to go home,” he wrote.

Succinct analysis: Jeremy Roenick of the Philadelphia Flyers, after his team lost to Tampa Bay, 6-1, Saturday night, summed up the game by saying, “They played really well; we played really bad.”

Looking back: On this date in 1964, Keith Lincoln of the San Diego Chargers rushed for 206 yards in only 13 carries, caught seven passes for 123 yards, completed one pass and scored two touchdowns in a 51-10 rout of the Boston Patriots for the American Football League title.

Trivia answer: Tom Landry.

And finally: George Foreman, who is giving up his role as an HBO boxing analyst, was often an observer of the obvious.

At the Roy Jones-John Ruiz heavyweight title fight in March, Foreman noted: “The referee is the most important man in the ring besides the two fighters.”


Larry Stewart can be reached at