Trip to Lambeau 'business as usual' for Lions' Lombardi

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has coached before in the house his grandfather built — so to speak — so he doesn't except a return to Green Bay to be anything special when his team plays the Packers Sunday.

He does, however, plan to have dinner at Vince Lombardi's Steakhouse, a restaurant in nearby Appleton, Wis. named after his grandfather and displaying memorabilia provided by his father, Vince Jr.

"Listen, there's been a lot of big names that have gone through Green Bay since my grandpa," Joe Lombardi said Wednesday. "They're not interested in Joe Lombardi. They're interested in Vince Lombardi and all the famous people that have come since then."

Joe Lombardi didn't grow up in Green Bay, where Vince won the first two Super Bowls as head coach of the Packers from 1959-67, but he did grow up with mementos of his grandfather around the house.

"My dad's got his Super Bowl rings and a few pictures around the house," Joe Lombardi said. "It wasn't like a museum or anything, but it was something that was always in view."

And on Sunday, the Lombardi name and photos of his legendary grandfather will be all around him at Lambeau Field.

"It's fun to walk out and see your grandfather's name on the Ring of Fame, but it'll be business as usual I think for the most part," Lombardi said.

Lombardi can play the business-as-usual card because there was a time in his life he thought his last name would make him a VIP, only to find out that wasn't the case.

"I just remember going up there once with some buddies right out of college and we went to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and I have this lifetime pass, this metal card that I was sent when I was 8 years old or something," he said. "Somehow, I kept it around, so I was just kind of goofing around like, 'Hey, watch this. We'll be able MVPs.'

"And walked in there and they're like, 'Yeah, go ahead.' it wasn't a big deal, and my friends made fun of me. No one paid attention to it."