The 5 Most Inspirational Pregame Speeches in NFL History

Amelia AhlgrenContributor IIIApril 10, 2012

The 5 Most Inspirational Pregame Speeches in NFL History

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    NFL stars like Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis have inspired through their pregame speeches.

    While workouts and training help yield results in the win column, something special happens when players storm the field inspired.

    Certain players and coaches throughout NFL history have commanded the spoken word, convincing others that they can dredge up an extra inch, an extra second, an extra bead of perspiration to spell victory.

    Here are five NFL pregame speeches that will motivate you to jump up and run a mile—and then some.

Drew Brees "Who Are We" Chant

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    Drew Brees brings a fiery intensity to his pregame hype chant.

    That intensity has allowed Brees to inspire, particularly in New Orleans.

    The New Orleans Saints faced a devastating 2005 season, finishing 3-13 after being displaced from the Louisiana Superdome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

    But after four short years with Brees at the helm, the Saints bounced back, seizing a Super Bowl championship to cap off the 2009 NFL season.

    Brees' chant has become iconic of the hope inspired by that Super Bowl championship team.

    A whole city rallied around it, and Brees even felt compelled to teach it to fans.

    Though the New Orleans Saints have fallen from grace in the wake of the Gregg Williams "bountygate" scandal, Drew Brees will continue to inspire.

    With his conviction and fury, he can lift this team from the ashes yet again.

Bill Belichick's Speech Before Super Bowl XXXIX

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    At the heart of Bill Belichick's Super Bowl XXXIX pregame speech is his undying devotion to Rudyard Kipling's philosophy that, "the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."

    Belichick subscribes so passionately to his belief in the team that it has left an imprint on the National Football League.

    Prior to Super Bowl XXXVI, players were introduced individually in gaudy fashion.

    But Belichick insisted that his Patriots be introduced as a team when they met the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

    The moment was awe-inducing.

    All Super Bowl contenders since have followed suit, emerging onto the field amidst fireworks and other fanfare as a single unit.

    Belichick's Super Bowl XXXIX pregame speech hammers home his doctrine. He points to the Lombardi trophy and asks:

    What's that symbolize? Not the guy who leads the league in punting. Not the guy who's got 15 sacks. Not the guy who's got 1,200 yards rushing. It represents the team. That's the toughest, smartest, most competent team.

    Belichick went on to light a fire under his players, mapping out Philadelphia's already-planned victory parade route for New England's locker room.

    Love him or hate him, you can't deny the impact that Bill Belichick has had on the NFL and his players.

Dick Vermeil: Gotta Go to Work

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    Dick Vermeil is inspiration.

    Through his life and his coaching career, Vermeil's complex character has encouraged ambition in those around him.

    In isolation, the "Gotta Go to Work" pregame speech delivered to the Kansas City Chiefs does not belong on this list.

    But it's not any single speech that posts Vermeil among elite NFL pregame speakers.

    What makes the legendary coach so special—what makes his speeches so special—is the way he blends raw toughness (demonstrated in the video) with unbridled emotion.

    The rough and tumble guy displayed will pace the sidelines flailing and hollering, but he can break down blubbering in a heartbeat.

    And he does so often, making Vermeil the John Boehner of football.

    All of his emotion—whether fiery or weepy—is driven by an unrelenting passion. That passion allows him to speak poignantly, honestly and directly to his audience, mixing to create a touching effect.

    When Dick Vermeil quit coaching (the first time) after several seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, he was direct about why: he was burned out. We appreciated his honesty and understood.

    Fourteen years later, Vermeil couldn't resist coming back to the NFL, and again summoned the perfect prose to explain:

    Fourteen years ago, I left coaching because I had to. I'm not embarrassed to say it. I'm back today because I have to.

    After his return to coaching, he inspired two more NFL franchises into the playoffs.

Ray Lewis: Every Pregame Speech He's Ever Given

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    Ray Lewis can preach.

    There's a reason that he's the leader of the Baltimore Ravens over quarterback Joe Flacco.

    From Baltimore's huddle to the NIT basketball tournament, Lewis has become an arbiter of truth. And when he prescribes it, it's chill-inducing.

    The 6'1" Baltimore Ravens linebacker channeled his hardships into motivation for greatness.

    Now he lives inspired, overcoming his deficiencies with determination.

    When Lewis tells you that he will not quit, you believe him. And you don't quit on him.

Vince Lombardi's Speech Before Super Bowl II

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    When it came to winning, Vince Lombardi had the recipe nailed.

    According to John Madden:

    Vince Lombardi could have won 50 years before he coached. He obviously could win when he coached. And he could win 50 years after he finished coaching because he had it. I mean whatever "it" is, he had it. He had the it factor.

    Lombardi won three NFL championships that predate the Super Bowl.

    He won Super Bowls I and II before the contests were even dubbed the "Super Bowl."

    Although Lombardi would return to football to coach the Washington Redskins in the 1969 NFL season, Super Bowl II would be his last.

    In 1970, the legendary coach succumbed to colon cancer, but his narrative continues to inspire today.

    His Super Bowl II pregame speech is simple, but effective.

    "Keep your poise. There's nothing that they can show you out there you haven't faced a number of times," he advised.

    It's no wonder that the coveted Title Town trophy was renamed after the legend.