Though the lockout has us focusing on news items that we otherwise would ignore, anything relating to one of the greatest coaches in NFL history will always get our attention.
In late May, a report surfaced regarding man who takes care of Vince Lombardi’s grave in New Jersey. Lombardi’s former secretary, Lori Keck, had visited the site, and she found Gary Martin, a local Jets fan, tending to the tombstone and surrounding vegetation.
“I was absolutely amazed that no one [had been] taking care of the gravesite,” Keck told Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I don’t want to create any problems here, but I’m very surprised that the family wasn’t doing it. He’s an icon and the Super Bowl trophy is named after him. Somebody ought to be taking care of that gravesite.”
Said Martin, “The grave was in total disarray. You couldn’t even read his name. It was totally overgrown. It took a lot of work. You can’t believe the work it takes.”
The Lombardi family, which initially contacted the Press-Gazette to contend that the local Knights of Columbus chapter has been tending to the site, formally has responded in a letter published on Friday by the Press-Gazette, via NFL.com. Though the letter arguably tries to dismiss the comments from Keck and Martin by characterizing the report as an “opinion piece,” opinions rooted in fact of the persons interviewed for a news story don’t convert a piece of hard news into the opinions of the writer. (That said, the hard news would have been more complete if, as the letter from the Lombardi family suggests, the original article had sought comment from the family or from the management of the cemetery where the grave is located.)
The letter from the Lombardi family thanks Martin for his efforts, even though the letter sharply contradicts his description of the grave site at the time he started to take care of it.
Lombardi’s grandson, Joe, currently serves as the quarterbacks coach of the New Orleans Saints.