Former NFL general manager and three-time Super Bowl winner Michael Lombardi reveals what makes football organizations tick at the championship level. From personnel to practice to game-day decisions that win titles, Lombardi shares what he learned working with coaching legends Bill Walsh of the 49ers, Al Davis of the Raiders, and Bill Belichick of the Patriots, among others, during his three decades in football.
Why do some NFL franchises dominate year after year while others can never crack the code of success? For 30 years Michael Lombardi had a front-row seat and full access as three titans--Bill Walsh, Al Davis, and Bill Belichick--reinvented the game, turning it into a national obsession while piling up Super Bowl trophies. Now, in Gridiron Genius, Lombardi provides the blueprint that makes a successful organization click and win--and the mistakes unsuccessful organizations make that keep them on the losing side time and again.
In reality, very few coaches understand the philosophies, attention to detail, and massive commitment that defined NFL juggernauts like the 49ers and the Patriots. The best organizations are not just employing players, they are building something bigger. Gridiron Genius will explain how the best leaders evaluate, acquire, and utilize personnel in ways other professional minds, football and otherwise, won't even contemplate. How do you know when to trade a player? How do you create a positive atmosphere when everyone is out to maximize his own paycheck? And why is the tight end like the knight on a chessboard?
To some, game planning consists only of designing an attack for the next opponent. But Lombardi explains how the smartest leaders script everything: from an afternoon's special-teams practice to a season's playoff run to a decade-long organizational blueprint. Readers will delight in the Lombardi tour of an NFL weekend, including what really goes on during the game on and off the field and inside the headset. First stop: Belichick's Saturday night staff meeting, where he announces how the game will go the next day. Spoiler alert: He always nails it.
Football dynasties are built through massive attention to detail and unwavering commitment. From how to build a team, to how to watch a game, to understanding the essential qualities of great leaders, Gridiron Genius gives football fans the knowledge to be the smartest person in the room every Sunday.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Get a complete picture of what it takes to win at football. NFL coaching assistant Michael Lombardi draws on his experience as an essential piece of Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots dynasty to break down how to build an all-in atmosphere and a culture of success. Pulling together witty references to Moneyball, basketball legend Phil Jackson, and finance wiz Warren Buffett, Lombardi shows how it’s not enough to know the fundamentals of the game—the trick is being able to throw your opponents off stride. Fascinating takeaway: It’s possible to trick an opposing quarterback into using the wrong hand to throw!
Lombardi, a sports writer and podcaster for the Ringer, shares insights gained from his 30-year career as an executive staff member of several NFL teams most notably working for the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick in this informative take on building successful teams. Lombardi looks at what makes a great head coach, considering San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh and his core belief that "You first start with a structural format and underlying philosophy, then find people who can implement it." Lombardi then details what is required of a head coach (even including 10 pages of "What to ask a NFL head coach candidate"); how to successfully evaluate character ("You aren't officially an NFL general manager until you've made a huge blunder on draft day"); and what goes into a team's practice plan (for example, four days before kickoff, Belichick has the team practice with full pads and ends with a team meeting and a meal). Throughout, Lombardi emphasizes the importance of sharing credit with players and staff. This is a solid insider look at how NFL teams are made, and is also a useful guide for sports coaches or office managers creating their own teams.