inspiration football quotes

111 Inspirational Football Quotes From The Legends

In the heat of the game, it’s easy to forget why we play. Football is a passion, not simply a sport. It’s a way to come together and celebrate our love for the game. When we’re feeling down, this game can be a source of inspiration.

This article shares some of the most inspirational football quotes from the game’s legends. We’ve also included snippets of these stars’ achievements. Whether you’re a player, coach, or fan looking to get pumped up for the big game, these quotes do the trick.

Be inspired by the best motivational football quotes from the game’s biggest names.

Famous Quotes from Football Coaches

The master motivators of football know how to get the best out of their players. They understand how to push them to achieve greatness on and off the field. They also know how to deliver inspirational quotes that stay with their players forever.

Here are the best inspirations from some of the most famous football coaches:

Legendary Football Captions from John Madden

Madden is a retired football player and coach, best known as a television commentator for NFL games. Madden was born in 1936 in Austin. He played football in high school and college. 

He got an NFL draft in 1958 but never played due to a training injury. However, he went on to have a massive coaching career boasting the highest winning percentage by any coach with 100+ games.

Though he left us three days shy of the 2022 new year, these words he uttered are here always to motivate us:

  • “Give something that wasn’t expected.”
  • “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”
  • “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.”
  • “Don’t worry about the horse being blind; just load the wagon.”
  • “The only yardstick for success our society has is being a champion. No one remembers anything else.”
  • “If a guy doesn’t work hard and doesn’t play well, he can’t lead anything. All he is is a talker.”
  • “Self-praise is for losers, be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class and be humble.”

Wise Football Sayings from Bill Belichick

The Patriots’ head coach boasts the most Super Bowl wins by a coach. Since becoming the team’s head coach in 2000, he led them to nine Super Bowls, winning six.

players around a football in the field

Being one of the NFL’s greatest coaches isn’t the only thing he’s good at, as evidenced by his dose of inspirational messages. Here are the best Bill Belichick quotes:

  • “Do your job.”
  • “To live in the past is to die in the present.”
  • “Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling.”
  • “The less versatile you are, the better you have to be at what you do well.”
  • “Every single player matters. Every single player can change the course of the game.”
  • “Mental toughness is doing the right thing for the team when it’s not the best thing for you.”
  • “There are no shortcuts to building a team each season. You build the foundation brick by brick.”

Meaningful NFL Quotes from Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh was the head coach of the 49ers from 1979 to 1989. He led the team to three NFC Championships, six divisions, and three Super Bowl wins. He’s one of the most innovative and successful coaches in NFL history. 

He died in 2007 but left behind a ton of wisdom, with some of his best quotes being:

  • “Most people have several opportunities to succeed.”
  • “If your why is strong enough you will figure out how!”
  • “Success doesn’t care which road you take to get to its doorstep.”
  • “Be clear in your own mind as to what you stand for. And then stand up for it.”
  • “If you see players who hate practice, their coach isn’t doing a very good job.”
  • “Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.”
  • “Champions behave like champions before they’re champions; they have a winning standard of performance before their winners.”

Best Football Quotes from Bud Grant

Bud Grant was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings for 18 seasons. He led the team to four Super Bowls and 11 NFC Championships. He’s a member of the NFL and Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Grant is famous for his stoic demeanor and his quotes reflect that. Here are some of the best Bud Grant quotes:

  • “If winning or losing is going to define your life, you’re on a rough road.”
  • “The tragedy in sports is seeing a team beaten not by a better team, but by themselves.”
  • “Some of the most innovative things in football I see at high school games. It’s not the play – it’s when you run it. The right time.”
  • “If you’re a coach, you’ve got to have a lot of confidence in what you’re doing. Your egos are so large that you know it all anyway if you’re a coach.”
  • “Being cold for a short period of time isn’t life-threatening. You can perform a task when you’re cold. We proved that when the Vikings played outside.”
  • “If you have something critical to say to a player, preface it by saying something positive. That way when you get to the criticism, at least you know he’ll be listening.”
  • “The day after high school, I was off to basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Station. You gotta understand, that we didn’t care about sports. We wanted to win the war. And at the time, we didn’t know if we would.”

Best Football Quotes from Tom Landry

While being the Dallas Cowboys head coach for 29 seasons, Landry led the team to two Super Bowls and five NFC Championships. Besides, he also had 20 simultaneous winning seasons.

american football player in blue jersey on the field

The star coach was popular for his innovative strategies and motivational quotes. Here are some of the best Tom Landry quotes:

  • “A winner never stops trying.”
  • “If you’re prepared, you’ll be confident, and will do the job.”
  • “The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.”
  • “A champion is simply someone who didn’t give up when he wanted to.”
  • “People striving, being knocked down and coming back… this is what builds character in a man.”
  • “The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence.”
  • “Setting a goal isn’t the main thing. It’s deciding how you’ll go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

Best Football Quotes from NFL Players

Not only are these football quotes from former players, but they’re also from some of the game’s biggest legends. These men know what it takes to win. Check out some of their words that can inspire you to reach your full potential on and off the field.

Inspirational Coach Quotes from Vince Lombardi

The late Lombardi served the Green Bay Packers for nine seasons as its head coach. He led the team to five NFL Championships and double Super Bowls in a short while.

To achieve his impressive career, Lombardi used a tough coaching style. Still, he was full of motivation, which kept his team going. Here are some of the best Vince Lombardi quotes:

  • “Success demands singleness of purpose.”
  • “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
  • “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”
  • “Everyone has the will to win but very few have the will to prepare to win.”
  • “There’s only one way to succeed at anything and that’s to give everything.”
  • “If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.”
  • “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.”

Football Motivational Quotes from Joe Montana

Joe Montana is a former quarterback who played for the 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Pro Football Hall of Famer is one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks. He was the Super Bowl’s MVP three times and won the prestigious title with the 49ers four times.

In his career, Montana made many clutches plays with a similar wealth of great quotes. Here are some of the best Joe Montana quotes:

american football player in blue jersey about to kick the ball
  • “I have a fear of failure.”
  • “Always be prepared to start.”
  • “Any quarterback that understands what the offense is really about is going to succeed.”
  • “Yeah, it’s nice to look up to people, but the more you try to be somebody else, the less you are of yourself.”
  • “Don’t complain about not getting a chance and then be unprepared when you finally do.”
  • “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.”
  • “As a quarterback, you have to love it. As much as you like to turn around and hand the ball off – the whole traditional football game – as a quarterback, you gotta love putting it in the air.”

Game Day Quotes from Peyton Manning

Manning, the former Broncos and Colts quarterback, has the most NFL MVP awards. The star won the title five times and is also a 14-time Pro Bowler. Also, he was the first quarterback to claim double Super Bowl wins with two teams.

Besides his many accolades, Manning is popular for his dry wit and humorous commercials. However, he also blessed us with some of the game’s most inspirational quotes, including:

  • “My dad was a class person on and off the field. That’s the person I want to be.”
  • “Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.”
  • “The most valuable player is the one who makes the most players valuable.”
  • “Being there every week for my teammates is really important to me. It’s about accountability.”
  • “If you work hard and you play well, all of those critics will quiet themselves pretty quickly.”
  • “I’ve never left the field saying, ‘I could have done more to get ready.’ And that gives me peace of mind.”
  • “You’ve got to remember what your priorities are. When you’re playing, what you do on the field is the most important thing.”

Best Football Quotes from Tom Brady

The Buccaneers quarterback is the only player to win seven Super Bowls. The NFL legend won the MVP award at the Super Bowl five times and was a Pro Bowler thrice as much. Besides, he’s also the league’s all-time leader in yard and touchdown passes.

Tom Brady has given us many great moments in his two decades of playing. He’s also the source of several inspirational quotes, including:

  • “If you don’t play to win don’t play at all.”
  • “When you’re one of the leaders of the team, there are no days off.”
  • “I didn’t come this far to only come this far, so we’ve still got further to go.”
  • “If you don’t believe in yourself why is anyone else going to believe in you?”
  • “You push your body to the limits, but you have to train your body to deal with the limits.”
  • “I think sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life.”
  • “You put all the other stuff aside and go out and do your job, and mine is to be the best I can be for my teammates.”

Best Football Quotes from Don Shula

Shula head-coached the Baltimore Colts for seven seasons before moving to the Dolphins for 26. He led the Dolphins to two Super Bowls and five AFC Championships. He’s the NFL’s all-time leader in wins with 347.

athlete getting ready to catch the football

Here are some of the best Don Shula quotes:

  • “Learn from everyone, copy no one.”
  • “I don’t know any other way to lead but by example.”
  • “I can’t remember missing a practice because of illness.”
  • “One thing I never want to be accused of is not working.”
  • “The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others.”
  • “I have no magic formula. The only way I know to win is through hard work.”
  • “I never felt I knew it all. I always felt there’s something new to learn, something new to do.”

Best Football Quotes from Paul Brown

A legendary college and professional football figure, Paul Brown head-coached the Browns from 1946 to 1962. He led the team to three NFL Championships and later became a Pro-Football-Hall-of-Famer.

Some of the best Paul Brown inspirational words include:

  • “A winner never whines.”
  • “The key to winning is poise under stress.”
  • “When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.”
  • “You can learn a line from a win and a book from a defeat.”
  • “Coaches who scrimmage all the time don’t know what to practice.”
  • “Leave as little to chance as possible. Preparation is the key to success.”
  • “Football is a game of errors. The team that makes the fewest errors in a game usually wins.”

Best Football Quotes from George Halas

The Chicago Bears founder head-coached his “cubs” for 40 seasons. He led the team to six NFL Championships. Halas is one of the most vital NFL coaches with as many motivating words as his successes. Here are a few of his best quotes:

  • “You can achieve only that which you will do.”
  • “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”
  • “When they boo you, you know they mean you.”
  • “What makes a good coach? Complete dedication.”
  • “Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.”
  • “Don’t do anything in practice that you wouldn’t do in the game.”
  • “Many people flounder about in life because they do not have a purpose, an objective toward which to work.”

Memorable Football Quotes from Jerry Rice

The retired wide receiver played for the 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Broncos, and the Seahawks. Rice is the NFL’s all-time greatest wide receiver. He also said many witty words that’ll keep us motivated for ages. Here are seven of his best quotes:

  • “I was always in search of a perfect game, and I never got it.”
  • “Not wanting to disappoint is what pushed me to be successful.”
  • “The enemy of the best is the good. If you’re always settling with what’s good, you’ll never be the best.”
  • “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I will do what others can’t.”
  • “I went out there to play my game for the fun of it and never based my career around records.”
  • “The absolute worst thing a receiver can do is worry about not catching the ball or about getting hit.”
  • “To me, it was never about what I accomplished on the football field, it was about the way I played the game.”

Inspirational Football Quotes to Help You Through Tough Times

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Here are ten inspirational football quotes from the legends to help you through tricky times:

football player on bended knees
  • “When you don’t give up, you can’t fail.” –Adrian Peterson
  • “Success isn’t forever, and failure is never final.” –Don Shula
  • “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” –Vince Lombardi
  • “Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.” –Bo Jackson
  • “I may win and I may lose, but I will never be defeated.” –Emmitt Smith
  • “I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.” –Tom Landry
  • “I think that’s what competitors do: they compete, regardless of the score or situation.” –Bill Belichick
  • “Things don’t correct themselves, you’ve got to go out there and work hard to correct them.” –Tom Brady
  • “Football is like life. It requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.” –Vince Lombardi
  • “No matter the circumstances you may be going through, just push through it.” –Ray Lewis

Inspirational Football Quotes for Game Day

It’s game day, and you can feel the excitement in the air. The players are ready to take the field and give everything they’ve got. As you wait for the game to start, take a moment to read these inspirational football quotes from some of the sport’s legends:

  • “The test of a quarterback is where his team finishes.” –Paul Brown
  • “Usually the team that scores the most points wins the game.” –John Madden
  • “Find out what the other team wants to do. Then take it away from them.” –George Halas
  • “The objective is to win fairly, squarely, decently. Win by the rules, but still, win.” –Vince Lombardi
  • “Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of battle or the fear of death.” –Bill Walsh
  • “Especially in football, it’s not a QB’s game… even though the media likes to make it into that – it takes the whole team.” –Joe Montana
  • “I always used to tell my players that we are here to win! And you know what, Al? When you don’t win, you lose.” –John Madden
  • “My job is to play well offensively and help my team score points. So I feel very responsible every time we lose a game.” –Peyton Manning
  • “Everything about the game is hard and tests your will. It compels every man who puts on a uniform to not only do their best but to be their best.” – John Lynch
  • “Monday Night Football. That was everything to me because you get a chance to show everybody what you’re capable of. It’s only two teams on that Monday night.” –Jerry Rice


A little inspiration can go a long way. When it comes from the legends of the game, it can be the difference between winning and losing. These football quotes from the legends show that they understood what it took to be successful on and off the field.

After reading through all of these amazing quotes, it’s clear that this sport is more than a game. It’s a way of living. It’s a means to bring people together and inspire them to be the best they can be.

Whether you’re a player, a coach, or a fan, these quotes can be a source of inspiration and motivation. So next time you’re feeling down, remember what the game’s legends said. 

Also, remember that winning or losing comes secondary to your game’s approach. That said, check out our football throwing guide for top tips to upgrade your game.

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