Who doesn’t enjoy good inspirational football quotes from time to time? This great sport has produced many colorful characters over the years, and from their mouths have come some of the most memorable player quotes. So we have sifted through the annals of football history and gathered the top 75 football quotes designed to hit you with that much-needed dose of motivation.
Life isn’t always easy. (If it were… well, that would be just grand.) However, the reality is that as we age, we will all experience good times and bad. We will have joy and sorrow, love, laughter, tears, and heartache.
The real trick to conquering life is not to bury your head in the sand–to not pretend the bad doesn’t exist. Nor is it to squirrel yourself away, hiding from the world in fear of getting hurt. No, the way to do it is to stand tall and proud. To dare the world to throw what it can at you because you’re strong enough to take it and keep on moving.
Okay, that sounds like something out of Rocky, rather than from the gridiron. But no matter the sport–from boxing to football–the romance and struggle of competition has given rise to plenty of big moments and memorable quotes that apply to any and all walks of life.
Buckle up, readers, because this post is going to be a long one. We’re looking at the ultimate list of inspirational football quotes to help you get motivated to deal with anything life throws your way. Seeing how there have been so many quotable figures and memorable moments in the sport over the years, we have broken this article into different sections.
Feel free to keep reading from start to finish. It’s definitely worth your while. However, for those looking for easier navigation, here is a handy table of contents to help you jump right to the section you need to read the most.
HERE’S YOUR SHORTLIST OF MOTIVATIONAL FOOTBALL QUOTES:
- Inspirational Coach Quotes from Vince Lombardi
- Football Motivational Quotes from Joe Montana
- Game Day Quotes from Peyton Manning
- Best Football Quotes from Tom Brady
- Memorable Football Quotes from Jerry Rice
- Legendary Football Captions from John Madden
- Wise Football Sayings from Bill Belichick
- Meaningful NFL Quotes from Bill Walsh
- Inspirational Football Quotes to Help You Through Tough Times
Inspirational Coach Quotes from Vince Lombardi
If you want to talk about football quotes, then there is one name that immediately springs to mind. Vince Lombardi is a name synonymous with football. The legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers never had a losing season as a coach and led his team to victory in the first-ever Super Bowl. Repeating the feat the following year, in 1967, he cemented himself as one of the GOAT.
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
A swift illness took Lombardi at just 57 years old. Who knows just how much more he could have achieved. Yet despite that, Vince Lombardi is one of the most commonly quoted figures in football. Known for his strict regimen and the high demand he placed on his players, he required excellence with every play. The result was not only a career record that many still wish to emulate today but a plethora of motivational football quotes that can be applied to any walk of life.
Take a page out of Vince Lombardi’s playbook with these 12 inspirational coach quotes:
- “After all the cheers have died down, and the stadium is empty after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser, and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”
“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”
“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
“It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner when you’re number one. What you’ve got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not yet a winner.”
“We know how rough the road will be, how heavy here the load will be, we know about the barricades that wait along the track, but we have seen our soul ahead upon a certain goal ahead, and nothing left from hell to sky shall ever turn us back.”
“Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts; they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs; they become your words. Watch your words; they become your actions. Watch your actions; they become your habits. Watch your habits; they become your character.”
“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”
“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.”
“Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.”
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while–you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”
Football Motivational Quotes from Joe Montana
If you are looking for football sayings and quotes, who better to look to than the Comeback Kid? Joe Montana was a leader and a player whose inspirational words rarely failed to rally his team. Famous for his ability to stay calm under pressure, his deep deck of motivational football quotes helped him lead staggering thirty-two come-from-behind fourth-quarter victories. One of these includes The Catch, a game-winning play that came with less than a minute left on the clock.
“Don’t complain about not getting a chance and then be unprepared when you finally do.”
Joe Montana is truly one of the GOATs. He is undefeated in Super Bowls, and he still holds the record for most pass attempts without throwing an interception (122). His resume speaks for itself, and his legacy is set. His collection of “you’ve got this” quotes is just the icing on the cake. A man used to winning, Montana’s inspirational football quotes are often centered around mindset and self-belief.
When in doubt, keep Joe Montana’s give-it-your-all quotes in mind:
- “If you don’t want to be the best, then there’s no reason going out and trying to accomplish anything.”
- “Yeah, it’s nice to look up to people, but the more you try to be somebody else, the less you are of yourself.”
- “If you don’t want to be the best, then there’s no reason going out and trying to accomplish anything.”
- “When the game is over, I just want to look at myself in the mirror, win or lose, and know I gave it everything I had.”
- “Winners, I am convinced, imagine their dreams first. They want it with all their heart and expect it to come true. There is, I believe, no other way to live.”
Game Day Quotes from Peyton Manning
A motivational quote is not just about the words but equally about the person uttering them: The initial speaker of said words needs to have the credentials to back up what they are saying.
And when it comes to inspirational football quotes, you have to think about Peyton Manning. An athlete who is the embodiment of success and hard work; a man who has fought to not only reach the pinnacle but hold onto his position at the top of the pile.
“If you wait for others to initiate change, you automatically become a follower.”
Of his 15-year career, he never missed a single regular-season game for 13 of those years. Numerous accolades stand to this day, including most consecutive seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes, the first quarterback to reach 200 career wins, and, most importantly (for this list), the first quarterback to lead five consecutive fourth-quarter comeback wins. This one points to his tenacity as a player and his ability to motivate those around him.
Manning’s football quotes focus on the state of mind and not letting the voices of doubt get you down:
- “Remind your critics when they say you don’t have the expertise or experience to do something that an amateur built the ark and the experts built the titanic.
“Life is about choices. You ask the questions, and you listen to the answers. Then you listen to your heart.”
“It’s not wanting to win that makes you a winner; it’s refusing to fail.”
“If you work hard and you play well, all those critics quiet themselves pretty quickly.”
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”
“The attitude with which we approach the situation can determine our success or failure.”
Best Football Quotes from Tom Brady
Sometimes motivational quotes are vague. They talk about a notion or a concept. However, they are easily relatable and can be applied without too much trouble to any given situation. Then you get the quotes that are far more specific. In no way are they less motivating, but they require a little more thought before we can apply them ourselves.
Tom Brady could be called Mr. NFL. He is a living legend and certain to go down in the annals of history as one of the very best.
“When you lose, talk little. When you win, talk less.”
His list of accomplishments, accolades, and current records is almost as long as this article. They include record numbers of games started, played, and won as a skill position player. He also holds the records for the number of career passes, touchdown passes, and pass attempts. The list goes on and on, so if you are looking for a verified source of motivational football quotes, Tom Brady is the man to look at.
Brady’s more memorable captions are, of course, focused around football. But it’s not that hard to take the concept from his winning quotes and apply it to any walk of life:
- “We all have experiences in our lives that change us, and we all learn from people, like my dad, but at the end of the day, it’s only us. And we’re only responsible to make ourselves happy.”
“I think that at the start of a game, you’re always playing to win, and then maybe if you’re ahead late in the game, you start playing not to lose. The true competitors, though, are the ones who always play to win.”
“After the first day of practice, there’s not one guy who’s playing at 100 percent or who feels great. Sometimes, getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth is the hardest part of the day – it all just hurts.”
“Every quarterback can throw a ball, every running back can run, and every receiver is fast, but that mental toughness that you talk about translates into competitiveness.”
“To me, football is so much about mental toughness. It’s digging deep, it’s doing whatever you need to do to help a team win, and that comes in a lot of shapes and forms.”
Memorable Football Quotes from Jerry Rice
We’ve had quotes on this list from managers and quarterbacks–the two positions carrying the most authority on the field. Yet, as is the case with motivation in any form, it is not only required on the gridiron. True motivation is born behind the scenes, away from the cameras and the adulation of the fans. It is born within us and shines through how we carry ourselves and how we deal with others.
“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”
Success and motivation stand hand in hand but lead. Jerry Rice is widely regarded as one of the best players ever to lace up their boots. You would be hard pushed to find a positional record that he doesn’t own or has not owned for a long period of time in the past.
Jerry Rice is a man known for his unyielding work ethic and dedication to being the best. But his inspirational football quotes speak more to perseverance and recognizing there are no shortcuts to the top:
- “We have seen some of the greatest athletes fall because they have tried to take shortcuts.”
“I had to work hard and hit the books because the opportunity to play in the NFL is not really that big, so I knew I needed something to fall back on. That’s the message I want to send to those kids when I talk to them in person and let them know the most important thing is getting your education.”
“To me, it was never about what I accomplished on the football field; it was about the way I played the game.”
“I think the thing about that was I was always willing to work; I was not the fastest or biggest player, but I was determined to be the best football player I could be on the football field, and I think I was able to accomplish that through hard work.”
“The enemy of the best is the good. If you’re always settling with what’s good, you’ll never be the best.”
Legendary Football Captions from John Madden
When looking at football, there is one name that rises above the rest. A name that carries with it a global appeal that even non-football fans will recognize and a host of inspiring football quotes that many may not even know originated from his mouth. John Madden, a Super Bowl-winning coach, respected color commentator, and a video game franchise name. He really has done most things that could be done in and around football, and he has done them well, including a career coaching record of 112-39-7, equating to a 76% win record in the regular season.
“Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.”
Madden spent a decade as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, during which he never placed lower than second in the division. It was during this time he won his only Super Bowl, leading his 1976 team to a 16-1 record.
One of the core essentials needed to be a coach is to be that motivating factor. You need to instill a drive and passion in your team. Combine their enthusiasm and turn it into results. Pick them up when they are down, and I’ve them the belief that they can conquer the world. You can’t be a successful football coach without being good with your words. It’s no wonder then that there are so many John Madden-derived football quotes. From the simple to the complex, Madden had what it took to light the fire of desire in his players.
Many of Madden’s football quotes reflect more on the sense of self than they do the rousing commands of your peers. He talks of dedication and the will to win, but not ruling with an iron fist.
They are different from many of the other football quotes in this list, yet they are nonetheless inspiring in the way they provoke thought and reflection.
- “When the going gets tough, I’m not always sure what you do. I’m not saying that I know how to fix everything when the going gets tough, but I do know this: when the going goes tough, you don’t quit. And you don’t fold up. And you don’t go in the other direction.”
“Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.”
“If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.”
“Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.”
“As I look back now on my coaching career, I think of my family, I think of the days that we spent together. So I say this to coaches everywhere: If you ever have a chance to take your kids with you, take them. Don’t miss that opportunity. Because when it’s all over and done with, when you look back, those are going to be your fondest memories.”
“You know, there’s a rule in sports, ‘Don’t do anything great if you can’t handle the congratulations.’”
Wise Football Sayings from Bill Belichick
We’ve already had some great coach quotes from some of football’s biggest names. However, Bill Belichick possibly trumps them all. Not only has his career been remarkable, but he has spent the past 21 seasons as head coach of the same team.
“To live in the past is to die in the present.”
His stint at the helm of the New York Giants will go down in history as one of the longest coaching spells at a single team. On top of that, the accolades he has acquired during this time leave no room for doubt. Love him or hate him, Bill Belichick is one heck of a coach. So how do you get such longevity? By having a long list of inspirational football quotes to pull out and use when needed.
Inspirational words are intended to light a fire and get the team back onto winning ways. When you can stand up and say you led a team to six Super Bowl victories, then you know you’ve done alright. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the list of potential Bill Belichick football quotes was a tough one to narrow down.
Belichick knew that football is much like life. It’s not always about individual effort, but a team effort—a place where individual work ethic is but a single part of an enterprising whole:
- “Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling.”
“There is an old saying about the strength of the wolf is the pack, and I think there is a lot of truth to that. On a football team, it’s not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together.”
“There are no shortcuts to building a team each season. You build the foundation brick by brick.”
“This won’t be good enough. It wasn’t good enough today. It won’t be good enough against anybody else, either.”
“And I understood that in an age where there was so much ego, because of the camera, that it was very important to look for that kind of player … I began to look for the kind of player that doesn’t need his ego fed by stardom, but will do what he’s supposed to do because he knows the game and loves the game, and will do the job the right way even if someone else gets the glory.”
“On a team, it’s not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together.”
Meaningful NFL Quotes from Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh took the helm of the San Francisco 49ers and led them to three Super Bowl titles in ten years. He was voted coach of the year on two separate occasions and had an NFL career win percentage of over 60%. He was a man who knew how to wield a football quip or two and how to use them effectively.
There are many football quotes attributed to his voice over the years. Many of them talk about the power of leadership and the value of a team having a strong leader.
“Before you can win the fight, you’ve got to be in the fight.”
The great coach quotes we chose below may be football-specific in origin, but it doesn’t take much to apply them to everyday life. Life is a team affair; we are rarely all alone as we navigate its waters. We are all the leaders of our own ship, and if you have the power to believe in yourself, then anything is possible.
If you are struggling, then Bill Walsh’s inspirational football quotes will light a fire in you in no time.
- “Do tell yourself, “I am going to stand and fight again,” with the knowledge that often when things are at their worst, you’re closer than you can imagine to success.”
“A good leader is always learning. The great leaders start learning young and continue until their last breath.”
“Creating gold from dross is alchemy; making lemonade when you’re given lemons is leadership; making lemonade when you don’t have any lemons is great leadership.”
“Winners act like winners before they’re winners…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’re winners.”
“Success doesn’t care which road you take to get to its doorstep.”
“Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of battle or the fear of death.”
“Be clear in your own mind as to what you stand for. And then stand up for it.”
“The four most powerful words are: I believe in you.”
“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.”
“Commit yourself to something you have a passion for.”
Inspirational Football Quotes to Help You Through Tough Times
We’ve heard some motivating football quotes from some of the biggest names in the sport. Each of them, icons in their own way. However, there are a great many names of people who have played the game or coached that have uttered pearls of wisdom that deserve to be remembered. Some are rousing, others inspiring. Some tow the line of being rebellious, and others make you chuckle, for a laugh can be just as motivating in difficult times as a Shakespearian speech.
“Don’t be a spectator. Don’t let life pass you by.” – Lou Holtz
The following football quotes come from various sources, but all easily apply to any real-life situation. No matter what you are going through, someone has been there and survived. Their triumphs can be the building blocks for your own success.
The overarching theme of these quotes is self-belief and being willing to chase after your dreams and not let anybody put you down for following them.
- “If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.” – Lou Holtz
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” – Archie Griffin
“Today, you’ve got a decision to make. You’re gonna get better, or you’re gonna get worse, but you’re not gonna stay the same. So which will it be?” – Joe Paterno
“If you’re not gonna go all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath
“The only competition that matters is the one that takes place within yourself.” – Pete Carroll
“I keep all my letters saying I wasn’t good enough in my living room as motivation to prove them wrong.” – Aaron Rodgers
“Effort without talent is a depressing situation. But talent without effort is a tragedy.” – Mike Ditka
“You fail all of the time. But you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.” – Bum Phillips
“For every pass I caught in a game, I caught a thousand in practice.” – Don Hutson
“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” – Lou Holtz
“Sometimes, a winner is a dreamer who just won’t quit.” – Rudy
Motivational Football Quotes: Touchdown!
Life is challenging, and there will be times that you find the struggles almost overbearing. Just remember, never give up, There are plenty who have struggled, and while that does not diminish the strength of your woes, it should provide the spark of belief that can become the inferno of change. Bad times test us. They ask how bad we really want something. Are we willing to crawl towards our goal?
Sport is a great arena for motivation, and football quotes always seem to echo a little deeper than many others. Perhaps it is the simplicity of win or lose, of life or death. It’s about fighting for every inch, turning them into yards, and the slow progression towards the end goal. Whatever it is, these football quotes ignite something deeper within ourselves. They make us stand taller, calm our minds and face our problems head-on and with a renewed vigor.
If there will be any parting words more fitting, they probably already appear in the article above. Just know that when you are going through tough times, keep going, because success and everything you dreamed about, worked for, and have earned, is just around the corner.
Do you have a quote or mantra that resonates deeply with you? Again, the comments are open, so let us know your favorite football quotes. Feel free to also let us know when you used them and why.