Born on March 27, 1940, Miami’s Lindy Infante starred at tailback for Ray Graves at Florida and was team captain in 1962. After graduation, Infante coached high school football until returning to his alma mater in 1966 as an assistant. In Gainesville, Lindy coached under Graves and Doug Dickey through 1971. In 1972, he was named offensive coordinator at Memphis State. Three years later, he joined the coaching staff of Charlotte in the WFL, but the league folded at midseason. Infante then coached at Tulane in 1976 and 1979, spending 1977-1978 as the receivers’ coach of the New York Giants. In 1980, Forrest Gregg made him offensive coordinator for the Bengals, and a year later the team went to the Super Bowl. However, good feelings in Cincinnati ended in 1983 when Paul Brown fired Lindy because Infante had signed a contract to serve as head coach of Jacksonville in the USFL in 1984.
Infante’s first head coaching job did not go well; the USFL’s Bulls finished 15-21 in two seasons under Lindy. When Jacksonville merged with Denver in 1986, Denver coach Mouse Davis was named coach, so Lindy took the job of offensive coordinator in Cleveland, sued the Bulls and won the lawsuit. Infante’s development of young quarterback Bernie Kosar in 1986 and 1987 made him a hot commodity, and he was named head coach of the Packers in 1988. He asserted to the press, “We’ll be a winner or it’s time to find something else to do.” In four years in Green Bay, though, Lindy managed just one winning season, 1989, when he was named Coach of the Year. That was an exciting but very flukey season as it turned out. The team wasn’t very strong, but managed to pull out six close victories with late-game drives led by quarterback Don “Majik Man” Majkowski. The magic and luck wore off in 1990, although Infante did not acknowledge it. He told the Milwaukee Journal- Sentinel in 2009, “Quarterbacks can make or break you. I would have liked to have had another year in Green Bay and had Brett [Favre], a quarterback I’ve admired for a long time.” Instead, Packer GM Ron Wolf fired Infante after a wretched 4-12 1991 season. Wolf wrote in The Packer Way that Lindy was deluding himself, “Because he put in many long hours and gave so much of himself to his job, he thought that meant he was succeeding – that he was owed something because of his conscientiousness.”
Infante, who had studied architecture at Florida, spent the next few years building his retirement beach house in the Sunshine State. In 1995, he returned to football as Ted Marchibroda’s offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. As usual, Lindy struck up a nice rapport with the team’s quarterback, this time Jim Harbaugh, and the Colts shocked everyone by coming within a dropped Hail Mary pass of landing in the Super Bowl. Marchibroda then quit after the Colts made him a lowball offer to return, and Infante got a second chance as an NFL head coach. The Colts snuck back into the playoffs in 1996, but completely collapsed in 1997, giving up over 400 points and winning just three games. That ended Infante’s football career and landed him on the beach. As a coach, the pass-happy Infante was very scheme-driven to the point where players found him distant and isolated. He was very successful as a coordinator, but as a head coach he was a “loser” as Colts’ defensive tackle Tony Siragusa said of him to Sports Illustrated. He passed away in 2015.
Custom cards in Topps styles.