Inspiring football quotes from some of the best football coaches are featured on this page. Use them to inspire your team, place on signs and posters in the locker room and more.
Inspiring Football Quotes
Some of the great sayings from football come from the top — the coaches who direct their teams. Let’s start there.
I’ll just say this. There was no way we were going to lose at home on this day in this in this city for all those people.
We wanted guys who had been productive in college, and we made it a point to pick performance over potential.
When you’re in a situation, you can complain about it, you can feel sorry for yourself, you can do a lot of things. But how are you gonna make the situation better?
At some point in life’s journey, professionally and personally, we have to be able to trust our preparation.
What’s important is not the uniform or the number, and it’s not what team you play for or whether anyone else sees your value; it’s who you are on the inside. And when you’re in Christ, that’s never going to change.
We only wanted to pay significant sums to keep truly special players.
They were unwilling to give 100 percent if they didn’t personally think it was important. What you don’t understand is the champions know it’s all-important.
I found that while life drags on when you’re losing, it marches on when you’re winning.
When it’s over, it’s over is part of football’s greatest appeal to me. When a game ends, win or lose, it’s time to prepare for the next one.
Check out 37 Most Inspirational Sports Quotes
Tony Dungy on Quiet Strength Video
It’s the journey that matters. Learning is more important than the test. Practice well, and the games will take care of themselves.
There’s a difference between making incremental improvements and making sweeping changes that take you away from your core values.
More from the Coach
We believed it was not our formations that made us good, but rather how we played.
I hired top-notch people, trusted them to do their jobs, and then came to grips with the fact that I wouldn’t be coaching as much.
What’s important is not the accolades and memories of success but the way you respond when opportunities are denied.
I need to treat everybody fairly but fair doesn’t always mean equal.
And if God has given you a lot of ability, I believe you should be held to a higher level of expectation.
At the end of the day, the only people a One Voice doctrine silences are those who should be the most loyal.
Inspiring Football Sayings from Coach Dungy
There are certain bridges that are not worth crossing, no matter what others think. Loyalty and relationships are important.
I needed to do my current job well, keep preparing, and wait on God’s timing. I needed to trust His leadership rather than try to force an outcome I wanted.
Winning would create greater potential for change than talk alone.
I learned it doesn’t matter how you win. You play to your team’s strength.
We spent our whole married life in the ultra-competitive world of professional football. Lauren and I had always tried to view it through God’s eyes. As much fun as it was to be winning, we tried not to get caught up in it. We knew that our family life and our faith walk were more important.
I said all along that God is in control.
God’s definition of success is really one of the significant differences our lives can make in the lives of others.
Once a player joins our team, our priority is to teach him, not worry about the player we didn’t select.
If I can’t get the captains to respond appropriately and show the leadership I expect, how is anyone else going to respond?
The best solution for falling just short of the goal is to focus on the fundamentals but perform them better.
Change isn’t always bad; we should always be learning and improving. But the change I was seeing involved principles, not procedures.
God allows us to feel pain for a reason: to protect us.
Pain prompts us to change behavior that is destructive to ourselves or to others. Pain can be a highly effective instructor.
And as a football coach in the National Football League, I know for sure that it’s going to end someday.
A good leader gets people to follow him because they want to, not because he makes them.
The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.
I can’t very well preach unity and tell the guys we’re all in this together and everyone’s important, then cut a guy because we might improve by one percent if we bring in someone else.
If we do what we do without panicking, we can accomplish great things.
Football is a vocation and an opportunity for ministry. But it’s not a life.
Keeping ridiculous hours doesn’t mean you’ll be successful.
First, there is no typical grief cycle, and second, it’s not something I went through. I’m still grieving.
I love coaching football, and winning a Super Bowl was a goal I’ve had for a long time. But it has never been my purpose in life. My purpose in life is simply to glorify God. We have to be careful that we don’t let the pursuit of our life’s goals, no matter how important they seem, cause us to lose sight of our purpose. I coach football. But the good I can do to glorify God along the way is my real purpose.
People look at me and see a calm, cool guy on the sidelines and I want them to know that my Christian faith affects my coaching and everything I do.
I was able to look at football as something that God was allowing me to do, not something that should define me. I couldn’t take my identity from this sport.
Joe Gibbs Quotes
Failures are expected by losers, ignored by winners.
It does influence every part of your life and it influences every decision you make. (speaking about faith)
A winning effort begins with preparation.
People who enjoy what they are doing invariably do it well.
The further you go in life, the more you realize what you’re going to leave this earth. It’s not going be, “It was a great platform. It was great to win the Super Bowl.” But, really and truly, what you’re going to leave this earth is the influence on others.
Sid Gillman Quotes
The big play comes with the pass.
Never throw into double coverage.
Hell, I live like I did when I was 35. I don’t believe in retirement groups because I don’t believe in retirement. How long can I keep coaching? How about forever? I’ll never walk off the field.
Attitude is the whole thing in football. Every team has the talent and coaching. Motivation makes the difference. The teams that win stay healthy and interested.
Some coaches spend their time trying to get an overview of all eleven defenders. I prefer to zero in on one guy at a time to get the right clue.
God bless those runners because they get you the first down, give you ball control, and keep your defense off the field. But if you want to ring the cash register, you have to pass.
When the passer’s back foot hit the ground on his setup, I wanted the ball gone. If no one was open, if he had to buy time, I wanted him to bounce in place. And then I only wanted him scrambling as a last resort. When you bounce, you maintain your balance. When you start moving, you create an unnatural position for yourself. I want everything to be natural.
Bud Grant Quotes
A successful coach needs a patient wife, loyal dog, and great quarterback – and not necessarily in that order.
We have no leadership. They rule by the herd. Nobody is in charge. It reminds me of a bunch of cows.
Mike Holmgren Quotes
The great ones don’t come cheap.
My reputation when I was first here was that I had every single answer in the book. I don’t know. Maybe I portrayed that somehow. I was learning, and I continue to learn, and I have learned.
Listen to what I tell you and do it. If you do, three things can happen: One, it will work, and you’ll get credit. Two, it won’t work, and I’ll get the blame. Three, you’ll do it wrong, and you’ll be gone.
Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a person as if he were where he could be and should be, and he will become what he could be and should be.
Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?
Like I always say, it’s not how many great plays you make; it’s how few bad ones you make.
Give people enough guidance to make decisions you want them to make. Don’t tell them what to do, but encourage them to do what is best.
An objective truth and individual reason are feared above all.
Football is such a team sport, so no one individual does it. No, one coach or no one assistant coach or no one player – it’s a great team sport, so I don’t get carried away with a bunch of accolades.
Check out Dallas Cowboys Quotes Funny.
Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.
First, become a winner in life. Then it’s easier to become a winner on the field.
Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.
When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn.
A winner never stops trying.
The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence.
A champion is simply someone who did not give up when he wanted to.
Right after the game, say as little as possible. Today, you have 100% of your life left.
The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.
A team that has character doesn’t need stimulation.
Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it’s so incredible, it’s unbelievable.
If you are prepared, you will be confident and will do the job.
Marv Levy quotes
Adversity is an opportunity for heroism.
When it’s too hard for them, it’s just right for us.
The age factor means nothing to me. I’m old enough to know my limitations and I’m young enough to exceed them.
The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.
Plan your work and work your plan.
This is not a must-win; World War II was a must-win (Referring to the Super Bowl)
If you have everything prepared, the rest will take care of itself.
Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?
Great football coaches have the vision to see, the faith to believe, the courage to do – and 25 great players.
Systems don’t win, players do.
What it takes to win is simple, it’s not easy.
What you do should speak so loudly that no one will hear what you say.
Expect rejection, but expect even more strongly to overcome it.
There will be many failures sprinkled among the successes you enjoy.
A failure becomes just one time at bat if you refuse to let it defeat you.
Security comes from earning it–not seeking it.
John Madden Sayings
The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break.
When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!
The best feeling is watching a real football game because the games they show in the movies aren’t real.
Boom, boom, foom, poom! He just ran right at ’em!
To me, discipline in football occurs on the field, not off it.
When your arm gets hit, the ball is not going to go where you want it to.
Knowing his coach likes him is more important to a player than anything else.
Don’t worry about the horse being blind; just load the wagon.
Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.
If you see a defense team with dirt and mud on their backs, they’ve had a bad day.
He got up looking out of his earhole!
The road to easy street goes through the sewer.
I’ve always said winning’s the great deodorant, and conversely, when you have a bad record – everything stinks – and everything starts to unravel, and everything falls apart.
Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.
The only yardstick for success our society has is being a champion. No one remembers anything else.
What’s the toughest thing in a professional football game? It’s being the mother of the quarterback — toughest thing.
If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them day in and day out.
Good things happen to those who hustle.
Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it.
I can’t tell you how much you gain, how much progress you can make, by working together as a team, by helping one another. You get much more done that way. If there’s anything the Steelers of the ’70s epitomized, I think it was that teamwork.
The pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what’s going on.
Watch the film, not the stopwatch.
The key to a winning season is focusing on one opponent at a time. Winning one week at a time. Never look back and never look ahead.
Being stubborn is a virtue when you’re right; it’s only a character flaw when you’re wrong.
The thrill isn’t in the winning, it’s in the doing.
Never make a major decision based solely on money.
A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning.
You don’t get any medal for trying something. You get medals for results.
There is winning and there is misery.
I think confrontation is healthy because it clears the air very quickly.
If the players don’t trust the coach – it’s a problem – and vice versa.
I’m not really in the excuse business.
Success is never final, but failure can be.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a quarterback who thinks playing quarterback is just about passing.
When you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s a lot different than when you do know that you don’t know.
Look, coaching is about human interaction and trying to know your players. Any coach would tell you that. I’m no different.
The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.
Two kinds of players ain’t worth a damn: One never does what he’s told, and one who does nothin’ but what he’s told.
Yep. And I noticed how slowly he went down each time, too. (When asked if he noticed how slowly Earl Campbell got up after each play.)
How do you win? By getting average players to play good and good players to play great. That’s how you win.
You don’t know a ladder has splinters until you slide down it.
One year ago, we knocked on the door. This year, we beat on the door. Next year, we’re going to kick the son of a bitch in.
Respect all. Fear none.
Inspiring Football Quotes for Coaches
I always thought I could coach. I just thought people were poor judges of good coaches.
There are two kinds of coaches, them that’s fired and them that’s gonna be fired.
That boy could throw a ball through a car wash and not get it wet. (on Warren Moon)
I thought I did until I looked at some old game films. (When asked if he played college football)
Coaching is not how much you know. It’s how much you can get players to do.
You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.
Yeah, that test says he’s dumb as a fence post, but when he hits he looks like Einstein to me.
The harder we played, the behinder we got.
Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half.
He may not be in a class all by himself, but it doesn’t take long to call the roll.
(When asked to describe Earl Campbell)
Nothing. And, I don’t start before noon.
(When asked what he was doing in retirement.)
When it’s first and a mile, I won’t give it to him.
(His response when told Earl Campbell struggled with a one-mile run)
That’s why you bring in a veteran player. You never know when a player goes down, a guy’s got to step up and play.
I said all along, you judge your quarterback in his third year.
Sure, luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.
The start is what stops most people.
I don’t know any other way to lead but by example.
The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others.
You know it’s only 50 miles from Grand River to Canton, but it took me 67 years to travel that distance.
Work isn’t work unless you would rather be doing something else.
I think what coaching is all about is taking players and analyzing their ability, put them in a position where they can excel within the framework of the team winning. And I hope that I’ve done that in my 33 years as a head coach.
When you’re there, it’s not good enough to be there.
One thing I never want to be accused of is not working.
Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal.
The one thing that I know is that you win with good people.
Hank Stram Quotations
Yesterday is a canceled check. Today is cash on the line. Tomorrow is a promissory note.
You cannot win if you cannot run.
My philosophy: simplicity plus variety.
You can’t be fat and fast, too. So lift, run, diet and work.
There are few secrets in football. So execute.
The absolute bottom line in coaching is the organization and preparing for practice.
Strong leaders don’t plead with individuals to perform.
The culture precedes positive results. It doesn’t get tacked on as an afterthought on your way to the victory stand. Champions behave like champions before they’re champions; they have a winning standard of performance before they are winners.
Calculated risks are part of what you do, but the idea that something completely crazy will work just because it’s completely crazy is completely crazy.
Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.
One of the common traits of outstanding performers—coaches, athletes, managers, sales representatives, executives, and others who face a daily up/down, win/lose accounting system—is that a rejection, that is, defeat, is quickly forgotten, replaced eagerly by the pursuit of a new order, client, or opponent.
Flying by the seat of your pants precedes crashing by the seat of your pants.
Failure is part of success, an integral part. Everybody gets knocked down. Knowing it will happen and what you must do when it does is the first step back.
Everybody’s got an opinion. Leaders are paid to make a decision. The difference between offering an opinion and making a decision is the difference between working for the leader and being the leader.
If you see players who hate practice, their coach isn’t doing a very good job.
Afford each person the same respect, support, and fair treatment you would expect if your roles were reversed. Deal with people individually, not as objects who are part of a herd—that’s the critical factor.
By Mike O’Halloran
Mike, a former contributing writer for USA Football, the youth arm of the NFL, is the editor of Sports Feel Good Stories.
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