"God/faith, family and football”—in that order—are said to be the priorities of a responsible person in the American football business. The saying dates from the late 1960s, but it’s uncertain who said it first.
Cleveland Browns head coach Blanton Collier (1906-1983) said “God, family and football” in July 1968. “He must persuade his players that faith, family and football are the bedrock of success” was said about Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) in February 1969. “Tom Landry: God, Family, and Football” was an October 1969 Sport magazine article by Gary Cartwright about Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry (1924-2000).
23 July 1968, Sandusky (OH) Register, “Browns Have 20 Unsigned,” pg. 9, col. 3:
HIRAM, Ohio (UPI)—A team inspired by “God, family, and football,” to repeat the words of a moving speech Sunday by Coach Blanton Collier, will be co-captained this year by Ernie Green and linebacker Jim Houston.
6 February 1969, Sheboygan (WI) Press, “Washington’s Bigger than Life—And Vince Lombardi’s President” (AP), pg. 26, col. 2:
Lombardi must teach Washington that winning can be fun. He must persuade his players that faith, family and football are the bedrock of success.
3 September 1970, Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer, “Fierce Dedication Lombardi Hallmark” by Ken Hartnett (AP), pg. 8, col. 8:
He believed in God, the family, and football.
The Best of Sport, 1946-1971
Edited by Al Silverman
New York, NY: Viking Press
God, Family, and Football
It is Saturday afternoon, early November. A chilled old-time wind chases the fire and baked bronze of dying leaves, and Tom Landry sits in his office on the eleventh floor of a suburban tower in North Dallas, looking down with the sort of detachment that Baron Frankenstein must have experienced as he watched the villagers fight fears with sticks and pitchforks.
August 25, 1975
‘A Fresh Start With Bart’
Optimism permeates the summer air of Green Bay. Fans are sporting buttons and bumper stickers celebrating the return of Bart Starr, Mr. Nice Guy, and hoping for a renaissance of Lombardi’s winning ways
The framed quotation is but one of the legacies of the late Lombardi around Lambeau Field. Lombardi Avenue runs in front of the place, and a life-size photograph of him is in the Packer Hall of Fame next door. But there are fewer mementos than one might expect of a man about whom movies have been made and books written, who is adored by multitudes” for his fiercely spoken beliefs that you ought to trust in God, your family and football, in that order, if you want to be a winner, and anybody who doesn’t care about winning had best get off the team at once and might as well quit the game entirely.
24 August 1977, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, “Raiders Find Best Policy Is No Policy At All” by Melvin Durslag, pg. 47, col. 5:
“Vince Lombardi used to say, ‘God, family and football.” In our rating system, we may put football first.”
(Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis.—ed.)
Time Enough to Win
By Roger Staubach with Frank Luksa
Waco, TX: Word Books
Landry has said many times the priorities in his life are faith, family and football, in that order. He is a great Christian example. Tom not only talks about his faith but lives it.
13 August 1981, San Diego (CA) Union, “Faust Embodies ‘Spirit of Irish’” by Barry Lorge, pg. C-3, col. 1:
You can tell a great deal about a man from his office, and the major interests in Faust’s life are reflected in his faith, family, football and Notre Dame.
26 July 1998, The Register Star (Rockford, IL), “Weekend trip to cheeseland isn’t just about football” by Geri Nikolai, pg. F1, cols. 2-3:
GREEN BAY, Wis.—(...) Lombardi also said that his life was built around faith, family and football, and all three continue to thrive in this bay city of 100,000 about 210 miles northeast of Rockford.
OCLC WorldCat record
Rose Bowl dreams : a memoir of faith, family, and football
Author: Adam Jones
Publisher: New York : St. Martin’s Press, ©2008.
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English : 1st ed
Traces the author’s introduction to college football by his mother, their shared experiences throughout three dramatic Texas Longhorn seasons, and his observations about why college football is followed so passionately in Texas.
OCLC WorldCat record
Giants : what I learned about life from Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry
Author: Pat Summerall; Michael Levin
Publisher: Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, ©2010.
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English
Summerall takes you back to the days when most professional football games were played in baseball stadiums to meet Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry before their names were synonymous with winning-- in fact, before most fans had ever even heard of them.
The Landry code: Faith, family, and football
Packers.com (Green Bay Packers)
February 23, 2014
Louis Nix slimmer, sexier nose tackle; Caraun Reid an option
Is football important to him?
“It is very important. Faith, family and football,” he said.
Vince Lombardi said that, Reid was informed.
“Well, he’s a smart man,” Reid countered.