Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi; Foreword by Bill Belichick

Gridiron Genius

Michael Lombardi; Foreword by Bill Belichick

Former NFL general manager and three-time Super Bowl winner Michael Lombardi reveals everything from how to build a team, to how to watch a game, to understanding the essential qualities of great leaders.

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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.

Advance Galley Reviews

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Thank you to First To Read and Penguin Random House for the ARC of this book. I really enjoyed the leadership parts of the book. Unfortunately, the leadership area wasn’t as big a part of the book as I had hoped. I’m sure anyone who has a better knowledge of the game of football would have enjoyed the entire book and rated it higher than I have.

Couldn't really get into this book at all. I thought it would be more interesting than it was but after sloughing through it, I can honestly say my major issue was the writing style. The information and look into the leadership of Walsh and Belichik was interesting on its own. The book has a few interesting things that football fans will probably enjoy, but the writing in this book didn't really pull me in.

I tried to read Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi. As a football fan, a high school coach, and a former college player, I'm in the wheelhouse for this book. Unfortunately, probably for me, I couldn't get in to it. I forced myself to push through the first couple of chapters, but that was it. And the problem was that I had to push myself; when I'm reading a book, I want to feel pulled into it, like I need to be reading whenever I have free time. That wasn't the case with Gridiron Genius. I like the idea of a book examining the leadership of Bill Walsh and Bill Belichik. They are fantastic coaches, who have incredible sustained success. I have read previous books about both and enjoyed them. I guess I just didn't connect with Lombardi's writing style, which is a personal preference. I may revisit Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi in the future; maybe having a physical copy will make a difference, maybe not. But right now, I didn't really enjoy this book. I would recommend it to football fans, players, or coaches, but be cautioned that the style may not be for you. I received a preview e-copy of this book from the First To Read program in exchange for an honest review.

If you are a football fan, Gridiron Genius is not to be missed. Michael Lombardi, a former NFL GM, focuses on three coaches he worked for and with – Bill Walsh, Nick Saban and Bill Belichick, examining the qualities and abilities that led to their exceptional careers. At the end of the book, Lombardi, talks about what he sees in the future for the game of football and also lays out one change he would like to see in the NFL, making an interesting argument for how it would make the game safer for the players and more exciting for the fans. Thank you to First To Read for making it possible for me to read an advance copy of Gridiron Genius.

One of the most demanding jobs in all of sports is the head coach of an NFL team. It takes meticulous planning, people skills sharp enough to handle scores of large egos, attention to detail on everything from offensive plays to the menu for the training table and of course, intelligence. This book by Michael Lombardi tells how two of the greatest coaches in the history of the league, Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick, were able to build the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots respectively into the best teams of their era. Lombardi breaks down the duties of the head coach into each aspect of building a team. Whether it is the madness that is draft day in the NFL, the rigors of training camp, game preparation, or the nuances of each unit, Lombardi tells the philosophy of these legendary coaches in each of these parts of the job in an informative and easy reading style. There are enough passages that are story-driven so that the reader can easily relate to some part of the anecdote even if they have never played or watched football. The best example of a passage like this was when Lombardi was describing his driving duties for Walsh. The travel time was far from quiet – indeed, Lombardi was comparing it to the popular Carpool Karaoke skits. However instead of singing, the two would be talking football and what the 49ers needed in order to improve. If instead of stories, the reader is interested in hardcore football talk including strategy, game planning and execution, there is plenty of that type of writing as well. For a novice or casual fan, this can be slightly overwhelming, especially when Lombardi is discussing Belichick’s eleven main points for defense. Fortunately, it is written in the same style that can be digested easily by any reader, but those with a passion for the game will especially enjoy those chapters. The chapter on Belichick’s game preparation, which takes the entire week and is started even before a playoff opponent is known, made for some of the best football reading in the entire book. This book comes highly recommended for football fans of all levels, especially those who are highly knowledgeable about the intricacies of coaching and running a team. Lombardi’s various duties – everything from Walsh’s driver to searching for a head coach for the then-St. Louis Rams – will give the reader an inside look at the sport away from the field and into the war rooms of coaches. I wish to thank Penguin Random House for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi was a very comprehensive look at how teams build from the coaching staff through drafting, recruiting and working with players on the field. A lot of this felt like it would apply to any business or life endeavor 'how to be successful' - having clear objectives, being thorough and thoughtful in planning & decision and always trying to be two steps ahead of the other guys- so even if football isn't your first love the ideas presented here are interesting. If you are a football fan, this allows a deeper look at the sport on and off the field. This book is short and easy to read in an essay style of Lombardi's experiences working for various team organizations. **thank you to Penguin Random House First to Read program for an advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review**


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