HOF Mail Bag - Paul Hornung


Paul HornungWhat is the single thing you feel separated your coach and your team from the rest of the league for so many years? - Mike McCann

I really believe (Vince) Lombardi was fairly responsible for our success as a coach and as a leader. He put together a team that we were very proud of and proud of how we all played and how my teammates played. It was just a great conglomerate of a bunch of guys who got together and really got on the same page as far as abilities were concerned and the need for being successful was what he was all about.

He coached, led by example and when he first got there he told us right away we were going to win and he made believers out of us. After that, it was just a delight to be up around a football team. When you win five championships in a period of ten years and you also run second two or three times you’re in for a pretty good trip and my trip through professional football would have ended if it had not been for Lombardi. I wouldn’t have gone back after my second year because the Packers were just a real foolish bunch. They didn’t care about anything but there own statistics and their own contracts. When he came in, he changed it around. He made believers that we could actually love one another and show that love on the football field and we did.

Paul HornungYou are one of only a handful of players to win the Heisman Trophy and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. How has your star power on the field translated to your life off the playing field? - Scott Bressler

Well, you know, it’s amazing, I’ll be 70 soon and I still get, I’ve gotten more invitations this year to speak to dinners. (Friday) I’m representing Ford Motor Co. up at South Bend for the Notre Dame game. Saturday, I’m signing in three spots for my book that just came out this year.

So my name has been, has been pretty popular all these years. I really don’t understand it but there again it goes back to Lombardi and it goes back to the career that I had at Notre Dame.

I’ve always been more proud of one thing than the other, and nobody in the history of football has ever done this and it’s really the top thing that I’m proud of. I was voted the best college football player in America at quarterback and I won the Most Valuable Player in the NFL at another position, nobody’s ever done that. I was MVP, of course, as a halfback with the Packers and won the top award in college football as a quarterback. The versatility I think speaks for itself.

You spent almost your entire pro career in the NFL's smallest town. Of course you and the Packers had boatloads of success. My question is if you had played for a team in a bigger city, say New York or Los Angeles, how would your football career had been different? - Frank Goza

Well, it would have been a little bit different no question about it. I didn’t take any minuses being in Green Bay. After we started winning in ’60 and ’61, I had more commercials than anybody in pro sports. In 1960, the year that I had my good year with 176 points, which incidentally is still a record; the record’s lasted longer than Babe Ruth’s record. Nobody’s come close and they play four more games now than when we played. But back in those days I did more commercial work than any athlete in America so even though I was in Green Bay, because of Green Bay’s popularity and winning ways, I still had access to a lot of commercial work and a lot of work in TV, so it didn’t hurt me a bit. Winning will take care of that no matter where you are.

Lombardi_HornungDo you think that Vince Lombardi would be a successful coach in the NFL today, taking into account the effects of free agency and the huge salaries and the egos that go along with them? - Bill Smith

It would be easy for him; he would have been commissioner of the league, that’s where he was headed. He would have been the top man in pro football. If he would have lived long enough to have coached at Washington and to retire he would have been primed to be the commissioner.

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