Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

23 – Tony Lombardo

Running Back, 1962-1966

Tony Lombardo played on the great Raider teams of 1964-1965, when the team won two Central States Football championships. Along with rushing for 1,000 yards and being quarterback Jim May’s favorite target, Lombardo won the CSFL MVP in both 1964 and 1965 and helped lead the Raiders to two consecutive undefeated seasons.

“When he ran past you, you heard it,” remembered Bob Milkie, former Racine Raiders offensive lineman and head coach, in a 2002 interview with Racine Journal Times reporter Mark Feldmann. “You heard his thunder.”

Lombardo was one of the lucky ones that got a shot at the next level, when he played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1964. He received $7,500 and played with the team for nine weeks before tearing a hamstring. He stuck around a few more weeks before returning to the Raiders.

“I felt I gave it my best shot,” he said. “I felt I could have competed at that level if I had been healthy. I felt I could have made it.”

Lombardo moved to Michigan after the 1966 season but returned and played linebacker for the West Allis Spartans before leaving football in 1971.

“I never thought back then that I would end up in like this,” Lombardo told the Racine Journal Times in 2002, upon hearing he was going to be inducted into the American Football Association Hall of Fame. “I played in a time when you never thought you were good until someone told you you were good. I guess this proves to me that I was good back then.”

Lombardo was inducted into the American Football Association Hall of Fame in 2002.