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Bidwill Reunites With "Lombardi"

Cardinals owner takes in play about former coach, friend


Actor Dan Lauria, as legendary former coach Vince Lombardi, announces a draft pick at last weekend's NFL draft in New York.

In the heyday of Vince Lombardi, when he was winning championships coaching the Green Bay Packers, it wasn't uncommon for him and Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill to have dinner together when attending NFL meetings or other events.

So Bidwill – long a fan of history, especially with the league around which he grew up -- eagerly took the chance to see the play Wednesday night in New York.

"I was anxious to see the show because I knew Coach Lombardi well and obviously had great respect for him," said Bidwill, who was also friends with Lombardi's wife, Marie.

"When you're so familiar with the subject and characters, you wonder how the play would hold up to your personal experience. It did not disappoint. The actors were outstanding, particularly (Judith Light) who played Vince's wife, Marie. She nailed it."

The play, 95 minutes long and with just six actors, stars Dan Lauria as Lombardi. It chronicles the life of the legendary coach and his relationships, particularly with Marie. Light was nominated for a Tony award for best actress because of her work in the play.

It opened last year, and it was recently announced the play will close May 22 after a total of 274 shows.

The play left an imprint on the NFL, however, so much so that Lauria – in character – was used during last weekend's NFL draft so that "Lombardi" could announce one of the Packers' picks.

"I would recommend the play to any football fan – not just Packers fans – because it really captures the personality and passion of Lombardi and the way he loved his players, his family and the sport of football," Bidwill said.

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