De Niro Will Be Lombardi

Playing a legendary NFL coach

The name Vince Lombardi might not exactly be a cultural touchstone over here, but the name Robert De Niro certainly is. The actor has just got himself attached to a biopic of Lombardi – a legendary coach in the sport of American Football. Or, as we like to call it, Rugby With Lots Of Extra Pauses And Wimpy Body-Armour.

Benjamin Button writer Eric Roth has penned a script that will focus on Lombardi’s time with one NFL team in particular – the Green Bay Packers, which he reworked into a trophy-grabbing team of champions. ESPN films and the NFL itself are behind this one, snatching up the man’s life rights as well as former Packers player Jerry Kramer’s book about the period, Instant Replay.

“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,” said NFL executive Charles Coplin, who resisted the opportunity to throw in a “you talkin’ to me?” gag.

Though the project still needs a director, there’s time to lock one in as ESPN Films wants to wait for the 2012 NFL season to release it. Can this match the success of The Blind Side? Hmm, did Lombardi have a cute, blonde, ass-kicking wife?