"Fatigue makes cowards of us all” has been popularly credited to both United States Army General George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945) and to Green Bay Packers football head coach Vince Lombardi (1913-1970). Lt. General Patton wrote on March 6, 1944:
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Men in condition do not tire.”
“Fatigue makes cowards of all of us” was credited to Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi in December 1964. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” was printed on a sign in the Green Bay Packers dressing room, according to a December 1966 newspaper story.
The saying has been used in the military, in sports and in business.
Wikipedia: George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a United States Army general, who commanded the Seventh United States Army, and later the Third United States Army, in the European Theater of World War II.
Wikipedia: Vince Lombardi
Vincent Thomas “Vince” Lombardi (June 11, 1913– September 3, 1970), was an American football player, coach, and executive. He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total National Football League championships in seven years, including winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. Lombardi is considered by many to be one of the best and most successful coaches in NFL history. The National Football League’s Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
War As I Knew It
By George Smith Patton, Jr.
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company
Letters of Instruction
THIRD UNITED STATES ARMY
APO 9563 U.S. ARMY
6 March, 1944
High physical condition is vital to victory.
There are more tired corps and division commanders than there are tired corps and divisions.
Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Men in condition do not tire.
DO NOT TAKE COUNSEL OF YOUR FEARS.
G. S. PATTON, JR.
Lt. General U.S. Army, Commanding
21 September 1947, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “Patton’s Third” (editorial), pg. 14, col. 1:
Patton was also quoted as saying that fatigue makes cowards of us all. For that reason he insisted on good physical condition for his troops. This strangely contradictory man, a natural-born showman and one of the most brilliant of field commanders, would spend hours visiting the wounded but absolutely refused to have anything to do with “battle fatigue” cases. (He once shook and slapped one of them. There was a public clamor for Patton’s scalp, but President Roosevelt saved him for greater services to the nation.)
30 May 1964, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “54 Receive Gold Bars in Ceremony at LSU, pg. 9-B, col. 7:
Speaking of influence, Col. Strong (Col. Leroy Strong, Army operations officer at Fort Polk—ed.) said, “Fatigue of body or spirit makes cowards of us all. You can’t be fragile if you are to set the example of confidence.”
13 December 1964, Sunday Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI), “Notes ad Notions” by John L. Paustian, pg. D4, col. 1:
For example, in emphasizing the doctrine of supreme physical fitness, Lombardi said “Fatigue makes cowards of all of us.”
Google News Archive
4 December 1966, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “Brute Force” by Chuck Johnson, Picture Journal, pg. 20, col. 2:
The coach (Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi—ed.) has a sign on the bulletin board in the dressing room which reads: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Lombardi tolerates no cowards.
Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations
By Robert Debs Heinl
Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute
Fatigue makes cowards of us all.
George S. Patton,Jr.: War As I Knew It. l947
(See also Combat Fatigue.)
18 December 1967, Amarillo (TX) Globe-Times, “Putting Around” with Putt Powell, pg. 12, col. 1:
A sign on the Packer bulletin board: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
By Jerry Kramer with Dick Schaap
New York, NY: Jove
Of all Lombardi’s tenets, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” made the greatest impression on Elijah.
Patton’s One-Minute Messages:
Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management
By Charles M. Province
New York, NY: Presidio Press (Random House)
Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Fatigue inflicts undue emotional stress, causing a commander to lose sight of his true mission. That’s why you have a staff.
The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith
By David Chadwick
New York, NY: Total Sports Illustrated
Coach Smith simply knows that fatigue makes cowards of us all. He would not let fatigue be a factor in whether a game is won or lost. He let us make the decision to come out of the game when tired.
Run to Win:
Vince Lombardi on Coaching and Leadership
By Donald T. Phillips
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
Furthermore, Lombardi constantly lectured the players between workouts that “good physical condition was vital to success” and that it was “smart to get in shape.” “You’ve got to keep yourself in prime physical condition, because fatigue makes cowards of us all,” he’d tell them. “When you’re tired, you rationalize. You make excuses in your mind. You say, Tm too tired; I’m bushed; I can’t do this; I’ll loaf.’ Then you’re a coward....The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”
@RGIII “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”—General, George S. Patton
8:13 AM - 10 Feb 2015
“A saying from Vince Lombardi: ‘fatigue makes cowards of us all’. It’s the opposite of bravery when you’re tired.” Mellody Hobson #KelloggBL
6:07 PM - 10 Feb 2015