Award was established in 1970 by the Rotary Club of Houston in memory of Vince Lombardi to honor the top Division IA college football lineman.
Marie Lombardi granted permission to the Rotary Club of Houston to use the Lombardi name for the award with the stipulation that all net proceeds from the award benefit programs of cancer research, public education and direct services to cancer patients.
All net proceeds from the award benefit the American Cancer Society, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Cancer Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer and Hematology Center. Since its inception, millions of dollars have been raised to support cancer research and direct patient care.
The Rotary Lombardi Award trophy, made from 40 lbs. of Texas pink granite chiseled to resemble the stance of a lineman, is presented annually in Houston at a gala Presentation where the four finalists are honored. This Houston tradition is now in its 44th year.
A significant part of the event each year is the visits made by the Rotary Lombardi Award finalists to see the Front Line Kids at Local Hospitals.
The Front Line Kids are children with cancer who attend Rotary Lombardi Award events as our special guests.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have drafted the most RLA winners and finalists.
Eight previous winners and finalists are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
74 RLA winners and finalists have been chosen in the first round of the NFL draft - eight were number one picks.
45 Division IA colleges have been represented by winners and finalists.
Defensive ends have won the most RLA trophies.
34 winners have come from the defensive side of the ball and 9 from the offensive side.
Orlando Pace is the only multiple winner of the RLA trophy, winning in 1995 and 1996. Nine winners of the award were a previous year’s finalist.
Ten winners and 24 finalists were members of NFL rosters in 2012.
28 previous winners and finalists are members of the college football hall of fame.