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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great look back at how two legends got their start
Review: "Lombardi and Landry" by Ernie Palladino

Palladino, Ernie. Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever, New York: Skyhorse Publishing. 2011. HB, 284 pages, illus. List: 24.95, ISBN: 978-1-61608-441-7

Palladino does a great job of bringing to life a golden age of pro...
Published on October 4, 2011 by Fred Goodwin

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough Lombardi
I am a diehard Packers fan and grew up during the Glory Years. I was hoping for an equal amount of time devoted to Lombardi and Landry, but there was far more information about Landry than there was about Lombardi. I found the book interesting from a historical perspective, but would have liked the book to be more balanced.
Published on October 21, 2012 by Cathee


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great look back at how two legends got their start, October 4, 2011
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Review: "Lombardi and Landry" by Ernie Palladino

Palladino, Ernie. Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever, New York: Skyhorse Publishing. 2011. HB, 284 pages, illus. List: 24.95, ISBN: 978-1-61608-441-7

Palladino does a great job of bringing to life a golden age of pro football that few current fans were around to see. I was born in the mid-50s and became a Cowboys fan in the mid-60s so I missed the Giants era of greatness that Palladino describes. But having read his book, now I understand why the Giants were so good during that time.

As a Cowboy fan, I wanted to read this book to learn more about Tom Landry's early coaching days, and I wanted to know what it was about him that attracted the attention of Clint Murchison (Cowboys owner at the time) and Tex Schramm (Cowboys then-GM). Palladino covers much of the usual ground about Landry's innovations: e.g., reading defensive "keys", fine tuning the 4-3 defense into the 4-3 "inside" and the 4-3 "outside" (although I must admit I'm still not exactly sure of the difference between those two), and the evolution of the middle linebacker position, in particular how Sam Huff played it. It's all very fascinating stuff, but many true Cowboy fans will already know a lot of this.

What I didn't know until reading this book was how intense was the rivalry between not just Landry and Lombardi, but between the offensive and defensive units, the competition between the units for practice time and between the coaches for players (this was long before the era of 53-man rosters and complete 2-deep units on both sides of the ball). And while I was generally aware of Paul Brown's influence on the game, I was not aware of how much he influenced Lombardi and Landry (albeit in different ways).

The book goes into some detail about the personal lives of both Landry and Lombardi. The coverage of head coach Jim Lee Howell is much more two dimensional; I imagine current Giants fans would've like more detail on his life, but the book isn't really about him, so it's hard to criticize Palladino on that.

The only criticism I have is somewhat minor: I got the impression after finishing the book that it's mostly about Lombardi, with just enough Landry thrown in so it couldn't be called a Lombardi biography. Understand I didn't do a line-by-line, page-by-page or even chapter-by-chapter comparison between the two -- it's just a feeling. I think the book is probably more than 60-40 tilted to Lombardi but certainly not as much as 75-25.

And the only reason I bring it up is so Cowboy fans will know before they pick up the book that I don't think the coverage of the two coaches was exactly 50-50, as if that's even possible. Let's face it, Lombardi was a far more colorful character, and his constant longing for a head coaching position is a major theme throughout the book, whereas Landry comes across as much more reserved (which was in fact true) and much less interested in a head coaching position (also true, for the most part).

The theme for Landry was about him wanting to get himself and his family back home to Texas. By the end of the '59 season, he was entertaining offers from both the AFL Houston Oilers and the NFL Dallas Cowboys. One wonders how the fortunes of the two franchises would've diverged had Landry chosen the Oilers instead.

The book closes with a what-if that I'm sure Giants fans have puzzled over for years: what if owner Wellington Mara had been able to keep one or both men on the staff of the Giants? I think Palladino makes a solid case for why that would not have happened. Lombardi's desire for a head coaching job and Landry's desire to get back to Texas would not have allowed Mara to keep them together. So I think Giants fans can rest easy on that score.

Bottom line: whether you're a fan of the Giants, Packers, Cowboys, or the NFL in general, I think you will really enjoy this look back at football in the 50s and how two coaching legends got their start.

© Copyright Fred Goodwin, October 4, 2011
americas_team@hotmail.com
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before They Became Legendary Head Coaches, August 28, 2011
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Virtually all serious NFL fans know about the storied coaching careers of Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys, but there are many younger fans that do not know that in the 1950s both of these legends served together as assistant coaches for the New York Giants under Jim Lee Howell. In "Lombardi and Landry," author Ernie Palladino looks back at the era when the two coached in the Big Apple.

Palladino recalls how the Giants' superlative coaching staff was assembled, how fortunate Lombardi and Landry were to work for Howell, and describes the working relationship between the two. The author notes some of the innovations Lombardi made on offense and Landry made on defense, and relates some of the personal characteristics of each that were integral to their coaching success.

The book provides good detail of the key games in Giants history during the five seasons (1954 through 1958) that Lombardi and Landry were both assistants for the team, with special emphasis on the 1956 title season and the 1958 campaign in which the team fell to the Baltimore Colts in the famous title game. The author closes by chronicling the post-New York years of the two coaches.

Since it has now been almost a half-century since the first Super Bowl was played, many tend to focus on the Super Bowl era only and forget that the NFL had much rich, interesting history prior to 1967. In "Lombardi and Landry," Palladino does fans of the league a service by providing a thoroughly researched, well-written look back at the role of two legendary coaches in an era of NFL history that deserves to be remembered.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beginnings Of Two Remarkable Head Coaches, May 17, 2013
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This review is from: Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever (Kindle Edition)
It would be hard to imagine two men more different in temperament than Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. Lombardi, the passionate and emotional offensive coordinator and Landry, the defensive coordinator of controlled emotions and few words. Both worked for the same team, the New York Giants, and brought excellence to the squads in their charge. Lombardi was an innovator on offense, a man that knew how to work relentlessly "toward perfection and achieving excellence", while Landry got the same quality of results by different means.

Both of these men changed their sport forever. Both of them achieved success like few others before or after. The game would not be what it is today without their innovations and philosophies. This book is a joy for anyone interested in the history of professional football. It was a different time, football was a different game, but these two giants of the game were instrumental in creating the basis for the modern game.

The book is well written, and a great read. Most highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars RECOMMEND HIGHLY, November 23, 2014
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L. Kae (Bishop, CA) - See all my reviews
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Football fans will be thankful they read this book. It's well written and full of information & not just about Lombardi and Landry but other players also, such as Frank Gifford. I hope Santa gives it to every person that's ever watched a football game. It's not just about the game but people also. I can't recommend it highly enough. If Santa doesn't bring it, get it on Amazon -- maybe even right now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book, January 17, 2014
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Miguel E. Tersy (West Orange, New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Palladino's book. It was truly a golden era in Giant football history. Landry and Lombardi were great coaches. I sometimes wonder if one of them had stayed how great the Giants would have been. A very good book that I am sure any football fan would appreciate.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lombardi and Landry review, January 15, 2014
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This review is from: Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever (Kindle Edition)
I thought this book would be interesting since it provided information about two of the greatest head coaches in the NFL I enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend this book them to any football fan
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, January 4, 2014
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This review is from: Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever (Kindle Edition)
This is a great book about two legendary coaches. It gives their backgrounds and how they got to be where they were. In reading it as a Giant fan, it is unfortunate, the Giants did not hire either, especially Lombardi as head coach. He truly wanted the job.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Football greatest coaches, October 1, 2013
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This review is from: Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever (Kindle Edition)
It detailed the rise of two of the best coaches from their early days as assistant coaches with the New York football Giants. It was enjoyable to learn about them as people, coaches, and family men. It was inspiring to learn about their leadership styles and philosophy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very great read, enjoyable., August 23, 2013
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This review is from: Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever (Kindle Edition)
While growing up loving the Packers and hating the Cowboys, I came to love the game of football and respect the two men featured in this fine book. You get a wonderful look at where the two men's professional careers started and took root. The book deals with their time in the NFL and their start with the Giants. The book is thoroughly researched and well written with many personal accounts and stories included. I really enjoyed the time spent reading this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, August 22, 2013
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This review is from: Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football's Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever (Kindle Edition)
This was an excellent book about two outstanding coaches who actual helped make the NFL what it is today. As I was in the middle of my high school and college football career while these gentlemen were coaching it was impossible not to know what was happening with their teams no matter what part of the country you were from. I think this was brought out very well by the author showing how two men very different could be very successful in the same industry. I do believe these men would have been successful in any industry they chose. I am glad they chose football.
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