50 Motivational Quotes from Super Bowl Winning Coaches

It is Super Bowl Week!  In celebration of the 50th “Big Game,” I went to the coaches who have won it all for motivation and words of wisdom on leading teams. I did not find a direct quote on leadership from each coach.  In those cases, I used an answer from an interview or a quote from a player describing them.

Super Bowl I – January 15, 1967
“If you will not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.”
– Vince Lombardi, Head Coach Green Bay Packers (1959 – 1968)

Super Bowl II – January 14, 1968
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
– Vince Lombardi, Head Coach Green Bay Packers (1959 – 1968)

Super Bowl III – January 12, 1969
“There’s always a place for people who can play.”
– Wilbur “Weeb” Ewbank, NFL Baltimore Colts (1954–1962); AFL New York Jets (1963–1969)*; NFL New York Jets (1970–1973)

Super Bowl IV – January 11, 1970
“Yesterday is a cancelled check. Today is cash on the line. Tomorrow is a promissory note.”
– Henry “Hank” Stram, Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs (1960–1974)*; New Orleans Saints (1976–1977)

Super Bowl V – January 17, 1971
“You don’t get too much attention unless you’re a holler- and a screamer-type guy, raising hell all the time with somebody. But he did things just very quietly. He was just a nice, nice man.”
-Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas describing Don McCafferty, Baltimore Colts (1970-1972)*; Detroit Lions (1973)

Super Bowl VI  – January 16, 1972
“Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.”
– Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys (1960–1988)

Super Bowl VII  – January 14, 1973
“The ultimate goal is victory. And if you refuse to work as hard as you possibly can toward that aim, or if you do anything that keeps you from achieving that goal, then you are just cheating yourself.”
– Don Shula, Baltimore Colts (1963–1969); Miami Dolphins (1970–1995)*

Super Bowl VIII – January 13, 1974
“Success is the peace of mind that comes when you know you have given everything you have to give to the opportunities that life has presented you.”
– Don Shula, Baltimore Colts (1963–1969); Miami Dolphins (1970–1995)*

Super Bowl IX – January 12, 1975
“As you gain experience, you mature as an individual, and along with that comes the confidence that you have the ability to solve problems.”
– Charles “Chuck” Noll Pittsburgh Steelers (1969–1991)

Super Bowl X – January 18, 1976
“Never make a major decision based solely on money.”
– Charles “Chuck” Noll Pittsburgh Steelers (1969–1991)

Super Bowl XI – January 9, 1977
“Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.”
– John Madden, Oakland Raiders (1969–1978)

Super Bowl XII – January 15, 1978
“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”
– Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys (1960–1988)

Super Bowl XIII – January 21, 1979
“The key to a winning season is focusing on one opponent at a time. Winning one week at a time. Never look back and never look ahead.”
– Charles “Chuck” Noll Pittsburgh Steelers (1969–1991)

Super Bowl XIV – January 20, 1980
“Good things happen to those who hustle.”
– Charles “Chuck” Noll Pittsburgh Steelers (1969–1991)

Super Bowl XV – January 25, 1981
“A total commitment is paramount to reaching the ultimate in performance.”
– Tom Flores, Oakland/L.A. Raiders (1979–1987)*; Seattle Seahawks (1992–1994)

Super Bowl XVI – January 24, 1982
“Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.”
– Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers (1979–1988)

Super Bowl XVII – January 30, 1983
“A winning effort begins with preparation.”
– Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins (1981–1992 and 2004–2007)

Super Bowl XVIII – January 22, 1984
“You’ve got to respond to the fans, and play well, or people will jump on you. They’ll read something and jump on you.”
– Tom Flores, Oakland/LA Raiders (1979–1987)*; Seattle Seahawks (1992–1994)

Super Bowl XIX – January 25, 1985
“Champions behave like champions before they are champions.”
– Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers (1979–1988)

Super Bowl XX – January 26, 1986
“You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”
– Mike Ditka, Chicago Bears (1982–1992)*; New Orleans Saints (1997–1999)

Super Bowl XXI – January 25, 1987
“Losers assemble in small groups and complain; winners assemble as a team and find ways to win.”
– Bill Parcells, New York Giants (1983-1990)*; New England Patriots (1993–1996); New York Jets (1997–1999); Dallas Cowboys (2003–2006)

Super Bowl XXII – January 31, 1988
“People who enjoy what they do, invariably do it well.”
– Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins (1981–1992 and 2004–2007)

Super Bowl XXIII – January 22, 1989
“Failure is part of success, an integral part. Everybody gets knocked down. Knowing it will happen and what you must do when it does is the first step back.”
– Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers (1979–1989)

Super Bowl XXIV – January 28, 1990
“When I first got started in coaching, I just loved teaching.”
– George Seifert, San Francisco 49ers (1989–1996)*; Carolina Panthers (1999–2001)

Super Bowl XXV – January 27, 1991
“The more you prepare beforehand, the more relaxed and creative and effective you’ll be when it counts.”
– Bill Parcells, New York Giants (1983-1991)*; New England Patriots (1993–1996); New York Jets (1997–1999); Dallas Cowboys (2003–2006)

Super Bowl XXVI – January 26, 1992
“To reach your own goals and dreams, you must learn how to assist others in reaching theirs.”
– Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins (1981–1992 and 2004–2007)

Super Bowl XXVII – January 31, 1993
“Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a person as if he were where he could be and should be, and he will become what he could be and should be.”
– Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys (1989–1994)*; Miami Dolphins (1996–1999)

Super Bowl XXVIII – January 30, 1994
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
– Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys (1989–1994)*; Miami Dolphins (1996–1999)

Super Bowl XXIX – January 25, 1995
“Anytime you receive an honor like that, it’s humbling because you were a part of a team, a group of people that worked hard. Because of them and whatever I was able to put into it, we had a certain amount of success. It’s obviously flattering and yet humbling at the same time.”
– George Seifert, San Francisco 49ers (1989–1996)*; Carolina Panthers (1999–2001), after the Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation recognized him with the  Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football.

Super Bowl XXX – January 28, 1996
“There are many people who don`t know what real pressure is. Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”
– Barry Switzer, Dallas Cowboys (1994 – 1997)

Super Bowl XXXI – January 26, 1997
“The great ones don’t come cheap.”
– Mike Holmgren, Green Bay Packers (1992–1998)*; Seattle Seahawks (1999–2008)

Super Bowl XXXII – January 25, 1998
“There can be no separation in your organization. You win as a team; you lose as a team.”
– Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos (1995–2008)*; Washington Redskins (2010–2013)

Super Bowl XXXIII – January 31, 1999
“Limits are self-imposed. But there are no limits to human energy nor the goals you can achieve.”
– Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos (1995–2008)*; Washington Redskins (2010–2013)

Super Bowl XXXIV – January 30, 2000
“When you believe in yourself and the people you surround yourself with, you will win something really big someday.”
– Richard “Dick” Vermeil, Philadelphia Eagles (1976–1982); St. Louis Rams (1997–2000)*; Kansas City Chiefs (2001–2005)

Super Bowl XXXV – January 28, 2001
“Passion, emotion and intensity are good, but they’ve always got to be under control.”
– Brian Billick, Baltimore Ravens (1999–2007)

Super Bowl XXXVI – February 3, 2002
“Do your job.”
– Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns (1991 – 1995); New England Patriots (2000–present)*

Super Bowl XXXVII – January 26, 2003
“If I stop pushing you, if I stop demanding of you, if I stop getting on you, then I probably don’t think you have much to offer.”
– Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders (1998–2001); Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002–2008)*

Super Bowl XXXVIII – February 1, 2004
“Mental toughness is going out there and doing what’s best for the team – even though everything isn’t going exactly they way you want it to.”
– Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns (1991 – 1995); New England Patriots (2000–present)*

Super Bowl XXXIX – February 6, 2005
“Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling.”
– Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns (1991 – 1995); New England Patriots (2000–present)*

Super Bowl XL – February 5, 2006
“Perception is reality, but it may not be actuality, and you have got to be able to keep the difference between that.”
– Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers (1992–2006)

Super Bowl XLI – February 4, 2007
“The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.”
-Tony Dungy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996–2001); Indianapolis Colts (2002–2008)*

Super Bowl XLII – February 3, 2008
“Winning is what happens when commitment, desire, talent, preparation, hard work, and leadership all come together.”
– Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville Jaguars (1995–2002); New York Giants (2004–2015)*

Super Bowl XLIII – February 1, 2009
“It’s not about what you’re capable of, it’s about what you’re willing to do.”
– Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers (2007–present)

Super Bowl XLIV – February 7, 2010
“There’s a process involved. It’s important that you’re a part of the process. It’s a group effort.”
– Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints (2006–present)

Super Bowl XLV – February 6, 2011
“It goes back to my childhood. I never expected not to win. It’s about winning. Winning’s fun.”
– Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers (2006–present)

Super Bowl XLVI – February 5, 2012
“Humble enough to prepare, confident enough to perform.”
– Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville Jaguars (1995–2002); New York Giants (2004–2015)*

Super Bowl XLVII – February 3, 2013
“Discipline is not a light switch. Discipline is a way of life.”
– John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens (2008–present)

Super Bowl XLVIII – February 2, 2014
“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.”
– Pete Carroll, New York Jets (1994); New England Patriots (1997–1999); Seattle Seahawks (2010–present)*

Super Bowl XLIX – February 1, 2015
“You can play hard. You can play aggressive. You can give 120%, but if one guy is out of position then someone’s running through the line of scrimmage and he’s going to gain a bunch of yards.”
– Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns (1991 – 1995); New England Patriots (2000–present)*

Super Bowl 50 (Yes, no Roman Numeral) will be played on Sunday, February 7, so our last quote is from the coach whose moniker is on the Super Bowl trophy.
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”
– Vince Lombardi, Head Coach Green Bay Packers (1959 – 1968)

Did this list motivate you to tackle your goals? Tell me which one is your favorite with #GameOn.

Game on!
SW
@MzGridion

*Team they coached to a Super Bowl victory.

Posted on February 4, 2016 at 11:27 pm

Written by

Shavannia Williams

Shavannia is the founder of Heels & Helmets and editor of its e-magazine, heelsandhelmets.com. She also writes the football column, Gridiron, for the e-magazine. A sports marketing professional with over 13 years of experience, Ms. Williams has worked with the NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, and WNBA. As the owner of a marketing firm, Shavannia’s client roster includes: DC Women’s Business Center, NFL Players and United Way NFL Partnership. Her love for football began at The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, where she worked for Michigan Football and received her B.A. in Sport Management and Communication. She is excited to bring talented women together to provide a resource to help other ladies “join the conversation at the office” and enhance their business relationships. Follow her on twitter @MzGridiron.
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