Michael Lombardi knows more about football strategy than almost anyone on the planet. Until 2016, he was an assistant to the coaching staff of the New England Patriots and is a former analyst for the NFL Network and sportswriter at NFL.com. Lombardi also previously served as an NFL executive with the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, and Oakland Raiders.
He’s been on several championship teams. He’s watched the best coaches in the world do their work. While at San Francisco he worked directly with Bill Walsh. From 2014-2016, Lombardi worked under Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots as an assistant to the coaching staff. Speaking about Lombardi’s time in New England, Belichick said, “Mike’s…one of the smartest people I’ve worked with. He was a huge asset to me for the two years he was here…he studies football and he knows it very well.”
Lombardi started commentating on football and sharing his insights. His ideas quickly became popular because he has a very deep insight into the game. Most of the other commentators provide surface-level information that is often inaccurate of what is really going on.
Some of the core concepts in Gridiron Genius include:
1. Culture comes first.
2. Press every edge all the time, because any edge may matter anytime.
3. Systems over stars.
4. Leadership is a long-term proposition.
5. You’re never done getting better.
What I personally took from the book was an extreme attention to detail and planning. Lombardi explains that the smartest leaders script everything: from an afternoon’s special-teams practice to a season’s playoff run to a decade-long organizational blueprint. This resonates with Ryan Holiday’s recent book, Conspiracy, and how Holiday explains that we should be conspiring more than less.
The concepts and ideas in Gridiron Genius will make you a meticulous planner and strategist. As someone who reads about 2-3 books per week in the realms of business, psychology, and self-improvement, this book was very refreshing. It’s changed how I look at planning the details of my life– and how planning and strategy can become highly creative acts.
As someone who loves the game of football but is also interested in business strategy and leadership, this book was entertaining and useful.