DeNiro Pegged For ‘Lombardi'

The movie will be based in part on Jerry Kramer's and Dick Schaap's famed "Instant Replay" book and is set to air before Super Bowl XLVI.

Robert DeNiro, who won the Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in "Raging Bull," has been cast as the star of "Lombardi."

"There are few actors who could accurately portray the fire, passion and grit of Lombardi and we're thrilled to have Robert De Niro on our team," Charles Coplin, the NFL's vice president of programming, said in a press release issued by ESPN.

The early plan is for the movie to be released between the conference championships and Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Eric Roth, of "Forrest Gump" and "The Good Shepherd" fame, has come on board for the project, which will chronicle Lombardi during the years he transformed the Packers into an iconic franchise.

The movie will be based in part on Jerry Kramer's and Dick Schaap's "Instant Replay" book.

The plot, as stated in the release:

"The story's narrative arc spans from 1959, when Lombardi was given his first opportunity to be an NFL head coach, taking over the small-town Packers, then the worst team in the NFL, and runs through his transformation of a group of young, talented but undisciplined losers into five-time NFL champions. Also, the story highlights the long-standing rivalry that existed between Lombardi and legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, both of whom were assistants on the New York Giants team that lost the 1958 NFL Championship game. Friendly but always competitive, Lombardi and Landry's coaching skills were undeniable, their personalities as unalike as possible.

"The story climaxes with the memorable Ice Bowl when their teams battled in temperatures that reached 13 degrees below zero. Lombardi achieved his desire of winning an unprecedented three consecutive NFL championships, a feat still not duplicated to this day. Lombardi's Packers also won the first two Super Bowls ever played. Since 1971, the trophy awarded to the Super Bowl champion has been named the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The inspirational, compelling story of Vince Lombardi is driven by a single overarching idea: the moral imperative of paying the price to be great."

This won't be the first time Lombardi has been brought to Hollywood. Ernest Borgnine played Lombardi in "Portrait in Granite: The Vince Lombadi Story," which aired on ABC in 1973.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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