He was both serious and jovial, insisting: "It is not true that I can walk across the Potomac, even when it is frozen . . . I will demand a commit- ment to excellence and to victory. That is what life is all about."
What role would Williams play? "I've just asked Vince if I could have my same season tickets," he said.
Lombardi then went to work. Decades later, former players could see and hear Lombardi preaching and teaching. Jurgensen quoted him explaining how to execute what had been the staple of the Green Bay offense, the power sweep:
" `Tight end, split three feet. All you do at the snap of the ball is stand up. That linebacker opposite you will react. He has to, because the play's coming toward him. All you do is stand up and wherever he wants to go, you take him. If he wants to go inside, you block him inside. If he wants to go outside, take him outside.' "As for the pulling guards and the ball carrier: " `The only thing you look for is the tight end. If you see his helmet, go outside. If you see his ass, go inside.' "
Lombardi's training-camp practices were shorter than Graham's, rarely more than 90 minutes, but they were more organized. Instead of calisthenics, he sometimes called for what he referred to as "rooster fights," players hopping on one leg and trying to knock each other off balance. His conditioning drills, according to guard Promuto, were "the worst thing I've ever been through."
He cut some veteran players in a hurry, among them the team's first-round draft choice in 1966, running back Ray McDonald. He then coaxed Sam Huff, with whom he had worked when both were with the Giants in the late 1950s, to return as a player-coach.
Almost daily after practice, Lombardi would hold a "happy hour." Mostly, that amounted to drinking a few beers and poring over the league-wide cut list. Sometimes, he would relax and tell stories.
Lombardi once insisted, for example, that he could talk to a group of equally oversized players he had never seen before and, within minutes, separate the offensive linemen from the defensive linemen. The blockers, he said, would ask questions such as: "What are the meeting and practice routines? Does the team provide benefits?" The defensive linemen would talk only about payday and which opponents to hit.