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Publisher's Summary

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. Listeners 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.

©2018 Michael Lombardi (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Gridiron Genius is a FASCINATING read! Michael Lombardi provides a truly unique look at the inside workings and the exacting attention to detail that is paramount to succeed at the highest level. Michael has worked in concert and in lock step with some of the best teachers and administrators in the history of professional football. He shares true behind-the-scenes glimpses and anecdotes of the behind the scenes world of our industry." (Sean Payton, head coach, New Orleans Saints)

"Michael Lombardi got his masters in football from The Masters of football - Bill Walsh, Al Davis, Bill Belichick. Now he passes those memorable lessons on to his fortunate readers so they can receive an advanced education in coaching, personnel, management and strategy." (Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL insider and author of The Man I Never Met)

"My only criticism of Michael Lombardi's book is that I enjoyed it too much. The characters and stories were irresistible. But make no mistake, this is a very serious book. Lombardi extracts a meticulous and full-fledged blueprint for organizational excellence from a raft of hard evidence. This is a guidebook for excellence - and it applies way beyond the gridiron. Any thoughtful business leader, for example, could assemble a bundle of useful, integrated ideas that could transform organizational performance. Bravo!" (Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    117
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    89
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    107
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

football junkie only

my favorite book ever... football lover's dream.. I'd definitely listen again.. this is a have to listen to book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A+++++

Loved the book from start to finish and will definitely give it a second listen. Hard to overvalue Mr. Lombardi's lessons on leadership and systematic approach to a job
The book is not just for football fans either.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Leadership Lessons for On the Field and Off

I am not a huge football fan, but I grew up playing the game and have a passing interest when the right teams are playing. This book was filled with a lot of nostalgic behind the scenes information about football and it's big names. If you are a football buff, this part of the book is very enjoyable. As for leadership lessons, I enjoyed hearing the philosophies and application of those philosophies of some of the games greatest minds and team builders. There were many principles taught that can crossover from the gridiron to the boardroom.

For anyone who studies leadership, this book is a good read. For someone in leadership who is a football fan it is a must read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good listen especially for Patriots fans

Good book. Fast listen and great stories about patriots. If your a pats fan a must listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

please please hire a reader for this amazing book

First let me start by saying I love listening to Mike Lombardi talk. Have been for years on the various Bill Simmons Podcast platforms. His story here is incredible and I learned a lot about both him AND the game of football that I hadn't known before.

the one major critique I would have is that his reading of the book is too uneven and choppy. I actually would rather they hire a pro to do this book than have a guy I listen to speak on a weekly basis.

having said that, the book was incredibly enjoyable and I would purchase it again even knowing about the less than ideal reading.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal insights

Refreshing insightful incredible experiences working with the likes of Bills Walsh belichek parcells and al Davis. A true student of the game shares his knowledge and passion. I admire belichek but am surprised he would let some of these secrets be divulged.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This book is more about life than football

Lomardi tells stories about football and learning from the greats, but this book is about what it takes to win in life and business. Fantastic book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lombardi Delivers....again

I had been waiting for this book for 12 months and it didn’t disappoint. Lombardi’s insight into leadership means that you do to have to be a football fan to take something from this book. With up close access to Bill Walsh, Al Davis and the great Bill Belichick- the learnings he shares bring you a step closer to what it’s like in the inner sanctum of the NFL. . 5 stars!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful description of what football genius is

I’ve always appreciated the insight Mr. Lombardi provides in the various podcasts he speaks in but the book has so much more. I just wish the publisher paid for a professional reader- I know the words are his own but he was reading it, the words didn’t flow smoothly.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great - for a patriots fan

I loved the NFL insider stories and the leadership lessons. Lombardi isn't afraid to name names.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-16-18

football junkie only

my favorite book ever... football lover's dream.. I'd definitely listen again.. this is a have to listen to book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-05-18

A+++++

Loved the book from start to finish and will definitely give it a second listen. Hard to overvalue Mr. Lombardi's lessons on leadership and systematic approach to a job
The book is not just for football fans either.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff Hough
  • 11-01-18

Leadership Lessons for On the Field and Off

I am not a huge football fan, but I grew up playing the game and have a passing interest when the right teams are playing. This book was filled with a lot of nostalgic behind the scenes information about football and it's big names. If you are a football buff, this part of the book is very enjoyable. As for leadership lessons, I enjoyed hearing the philosophies and application of those philosophies of some of the games greatest minds and team builders. There were many principles taught that can crossover from the gridiron to the boardroom.

For anyone who studies leadership, this book is a good read. For someone in leadership who is a football fan it is a must read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brian McHugh
  • 10-19-18

Good listen especially for Patriots fans

Good book. Fast listen and great stories about patriots. If your a pats fan a must listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher J. Burden
  • Boston, MA
  • 10-10-18

please please hire a reader for this amazing book

First let me start by saying I love listening to Mike Lombardi talk. Have been for years on the various Bill Simmons Podcast platforms. His story here is incredible and I learned a lot about both him AND the game of football that I hadn't known before.

the one major critique I would have is that his reading of the book is too uneven and choppy. I actually would rather they hire a pro to do this book than have a guy I listen to speak on a weekly basis.

having said that, the book was incredibly enjoyable and I would purchase it again even knowing about the less than ideal reading.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert ONeill
  • 10-06-18

Phenomenal insights

Refreshing insightful incredible experiences working with the likes of Bills Walsh belichek parcells and al Davis. A true student of the game shares his knowledge and passion. I admire belichek but am surprised he would let some of these secrets be divulged.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-18-18

This book is more about life than football

Lomardi tells stories about football and learning from the greats, but this book is about what it takes to win in life and business. Fantastic book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • warwick jackson
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 09-14-18

Lombardi Delivers....again

I had been waiting for this book for 12 months and it didn’t disappoint. Lombardi’s insight into leadership means that you do to have to be a football fan to take something from this book. With up close access to Bill Walsh, Al Davis and the great Bill Belichick- the learnings he shares bring you a step closer to what it’s like in the inner sanctum of the NFL. . 5 stars!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Manuel Cruz
  • 09-14-18

A wonderful description of what football genius is

I’ve always appreciated the insight Mr. Lombardi provides in the various podcasts he speaks in but the book has so much more. I just wish the publisher paid for a professional reader- I know the words are his own but he was reading it, the words didn’t flow smoothly.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • AndyR
  • 09-25-18

Great - for a patriots fan

I loved the NFL insider stories and the leadership lessons. Lombardi isn't afraid to name names.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-16-18

football junkie only

my favorite book ever... football lover's dream.. I'd definitely listen again.. this is a have to listen to book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-05-18

A+++++

Loved the book from start to finish and will definitely give it a second listen. Hard to overvalue Mr. Lombardi's lessons on leadership and systematic approach to a job
The book is not just for football fans either.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff Hough
  • 11-01-18

Leadership Lessons for On the Field and Off

I am not a huge football fan, but I grew up playing the game and have a passing interest when the right teams are playing. This book was filled with a lot of nostalgic behind the scenes information about football and it's big names. If you are a football buff, this part of the book is very enjoyable. As for leadership lessons, I enjoyed hearing the philosophies and application of those philosophies of some of the games greatest minds and team builders. There were many principles taught that can crossover from the gridiron to the boardroom.

For anyone who studies leadership, this book is a good read. For someone in leadership who is a football fan it is a must read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brian McHugh
  • 10-19-18

Good listen especially for Patriots fans

Good book. Fast listen and great stories about patriots. If your a pats fan a must listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher J. Burden
  • Boston, MA
  • 10-10-18

please please hire a reader for this amazing book

First let me start by saying I love listening to Mike Lombardi talk. Have been for years on the various Bill Simmons Podcast platforms. His story here is incredible and I learned a lot about both him AND the game of football that I hadn't known before.

the one major critique I would have is that his reading of the book is too uneven and choppy. I actually would rather they hire a pro to do this book than have a guy I listen to speak on a weekly basis.

having said that, the book was incredibly enjoyable and I would purchase it again even knowing about the less than ideal reading.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert ONeill
  • 10-06-18

Phenomenal insights

Refreshing insightful incredible experiences working with the likes of Bills Walsh belichek parcells and al Davis. A true student of the game shares his knowledge and passion. I admire belichek but am surprised he would let some of these secrets be divulged.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-18-18

This book is more about life than football

Lomardi tells stories about football and learning from the greats, but this book is about what it takes to win in life and business. Fantastic book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • warwick jackson
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 09-14-18

Lombardi Delivers....again

I had been waiting for this book for 12 months and it didn’t disappoint. Lombardi’s insight into leadership means that you do to have to be a football fan to take something from this book. With up close access to Bill Walsh, Al Davis and the great Bill Belichick- the learnings he shares bring you a step closer to what it’s like in the inner sanctum of the NFL. . 5 stars!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Manuel Cruz
  • 09-14-18

A wonderful description of what football genius is

I’ve always appreciated the insight Mr. Lombardi provides in the various podcasts he speaks in but the book has so much more. I just wish the publisher paid for a professional reader- I know the words are his own but he was reading it, the words didn’t flow smoothly.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • AndyR
  • 09-25-18

Great - for a patriots fan

I loved the NFL insider stories and the leadership lessons. Lombardi isn't afraid to name names.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful