I can already hear the talk radio guys boning themselves over this one. Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, is one of the most iconic figures in sports history — certainly so in football lore. Honestly, it’s high time someone made a biopic about him (it will be produced by ESPN Films). I’m a little excited about it — Lombardi took over the Packers in 1959 and coached them to five championships in nine years. I’m excited because I love football movies, even though the gameplay is ridiculously over-dramatized — every hit and tackle looks like, were it to happen in real life, it would literally disintegrate the other player, and every catch is the stuff of legend. But fuck it, I love ‘em anyway. I also love movies set in that era — it’ll be full of men in trenchcoats and hats, which is badass.
Particularly since the film will also cover Lombardi’s intense rivalry with Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, and there was a man who knew how to wear a hat. So much so that “The Simpsons” dedicated an entire subplot to his hat.
In any event, the big news is that none other than Robert De Niro has signed on to play Lombardi, which is actually great casting. De Niro’s looking pretty old and grizzled, and Christ knows he could use a decent movie. He’s been sliding downhill steadily since… well… for a long time. Other than a decent part in Stardust, I can’t think of a truly great movie since Ronin, or I guess maybe… Analyze This? Yeesh.
The part that’s a little worrying is that it’s being written by Eric Roth, who previously penned two of the biggest shmaltz-fests of all time — Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.