Don’t you miss the days when Robert De Niro would churn out strong performances back to back for our viewing pleasure? Within the past decade, strong interesting roles have eluded the two time Oscar winner but according to the Associated Press, he might be on the path to redemption. The actor has been tapped to star in a film based on the real life football coach, Vince Lombardi.

ESPN broke the news yesterday that De Niro would play the Hall of Fame coach in a film they’re developing with Andell Entertainment and the NFL. The film is going by the title Lombardi, and will “chronicle the years in which he transformed the Green Bay Packers from the NFL’s worst team to league champions.” It’s scheduled for release in 2012 conveniently during the weekend between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

The screenplay will be written by Eric Roth, who previously won an Oscar for his Forrest Gump script. A director has yet to be announced but we do know that De Niro and his Tribeca Productions will co-produce the film. Could this be the return of a classic, notable performance from De Niro? It would be great to see him take on a role that’s not a caricature of his earlier work, but fresh and substantial.

Do you think De Niro can pull off another history making performance? Could this be his return to serious drama?