Michael Lombardi

Michael Lombardi


Michael Lombardi headed the Oakland Raiders' and Cleveland Browns' personnel departments and also worked with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos. He is a frequent contributor to NFL Total Access on NFL Network.


Divisional-round weekend is my favorite time of the NFL season. We get four quality games featuring eight teams that have been able to stand the test of time. And once the weekend comes to a close, the four survivors will be the mentally toughest tea... more

Matt Slocum/Associated Press FedEx Field's poor playing surface was a topic of conversation on Sunday long before RobertGriffin III's injury. With Robert Griffin III visiting Dr. James Andrews for further examination of his injured right kne... more

Monday was a sad day in the NFL. It was sad that so many coaches and executives lost their jobs, and it's sad that so many families are going to be disrupted. It's also sad that so many NFL franchises have not found the right infrastructure for... more


Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I love to read and discuss leadership ideas and concepts. One of my favorite new experts in this field is Daniel Pink, who wrote a great book about the powers of motivation called "Drive: The Surprising Tru... more

The regular season is just nine short days from ending. At that point, 12 teams will begin to prepare for their playoff experience, while the remaining 20 squads will lick their wounds and make plans for 2013. Breer: The hottest name in coaching... more

The New York Jets' season looked like it was over after last month's embarrassing Thanksgiving Day loss to the New England Patriots, but a modest two-game win streak had given them the faintest of playoff hopes entering Monday night's matchup agains... more

As I watched Thursday night's game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles , I kept thinking to myself, are the Bengals really a legitimate playoff team? And as Cincy struggled to gain control of the game (before Philly handed it to th... more

The Monday Night Football matchup between the Houston Texans and New England Patriots was supposed to be a heavyweight fight between two of the best teams in the AFC. And it ended up resembling one: the 1988 bout between Michael Spinks and Mike Tyson... more

On Thursday, Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego reported that San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith will be fired at the end of the season . In response, Chargers president Dean Spanos released a statement denying the rep... more

It's incredible what a three-game winning streak can do for a team at this point in the season. Back in Week 9, the Washington Redskins suffered a painful home loss to the Carolina Panthers -- their third defeat in a row. Redskins coach Mike Shana... more


Vince Lombardi once said, "We never lose, but sometimes the clock runs out on us." The New Orleans Saints certainly weren't losers this season; they fought through a number of obstacles -- many unprecedented -- with toughness and determination. But... more

Back when Monday night's game was scheduled, incredibly high expectations surrounded both the Philadelphia Eagles, who seemed poised to make a Super Bowl run, and the Carolina Panthers, an up-and-coming squad led by star quarterback Cam Newton. Sinc... more

Thanksgiving Day in America is a day to give thanks, eat turkey and watch NFL football. With this year's triple-header, the thanking, the eating and the football-watching continued well into the night. Also, we were able to learn something important... more

I have always loved Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. I'm a huge fan, regardless of what happens during the game, the facial expressions he makes, how he handles his teammates, or -- most of all -- how others interpret his body language. And give... more

Three weeks ago, after soundly beating the New York Jets 30-9 on their own field in New Jersey, the Miami Dolphins had the look of a potential playoff team, with a rookie quarterback leading them back to the promised land. However, as is often the... more

I was preparing to write a glowing column about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger -- in which I would have nominated him for the MVP Award -- when he was sacked by Kansas City Chiefs rusher Tamba Hali in the third quarter of Monday... more

After the Indianapolis Colts' 27-10 win over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, I am amazed. I am amazed by Andrew Luck's football maturity. I am amazed at how much of the offense the rookie signal-caller has been able to absorb in... more

As my uncle Charlie Palermo would always say, "If you don't vote, you can't complain." Alas, the only thing Philadelphia Eagles fans can do on this election day is complain, following Monday night's 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints. If they co... more


One of Bill Parcells' most enduring statements is, "You are what your record says you are." But that quote is often taken out of context, as Parcells was referring to a team's record at the completion of a season, not during a season. This is a very... more

Watching the Detroit Lions play this season, I'm reminded of a book by Jim Collins called "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't." Collins spent five years researching good companies that were trying to take the next ste... more

Before the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers took the field Thursday night, I tweeted that it felt like a game former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes and former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler would have loved to watch. And the way it played out,... more

Injuries can turn a really good team into an average one, or an average team into a bad one. They're an unavoidable part of the game, and no team can control how or when they occur. Teams can, however, control how they react to and handle each injury... more

After five games, it is easy to determine that nothing is going to come easy for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not wins at home, and especially not wins on the road. After Thursday night's 26-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers are 0-3 on the r... more

When I worked for the Oakland Raiders, I hung a large sign behind my desk bearing the following quote from Eric Shinseki, former chief of staff of the United States Army: "If you don't like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less." At th... more

After beating the formerly undefeated Arizona Cardinals 17-3 on Thursday night , the St. Louis Rams are now over .500 for the first time in 93 games, dating back to Nov. 4, 2006. Will this last? Of course not -- in large part because the Rams need to... more

Novelist Aldous Huxley once said that "There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception." Carroll: Sticking with Wilson Though RussellWilson has struggled to start the season, Seahawks coach PeteCa... more


These aren't your older brother's Baltimore Ravens. The defense is no longer dominant. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Co. still boast the heart of a champion and can make plays when they absolutely need, like they did in Thursday night's 23-16 win over the... more

I think I speak for every NFL fan when I say I have seen enough. And I was writing that line before I watched the ending of the Green Bay-Seattle game on Monday Night Football. Since the replacement officials took over with the NFL and referee un... more

When I worked for the Oakland Raiders, I often spent my time before practice in the training room, telling the trainers we were a few key injuries away from having a good team. What was the reason for this backward logic? Often, we had to play certai... more

Peyton Manning has been telling us all along not to rush to judgment, urging us to remember that though he is on the field for the Denver Broncos, he is still a work in progress. During Monday night's 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, his words pr... more

The Chicago Bears laid yet another egg at Lambeau Field on Thursday, extending their losing streak against the Green Bay Packers to five games. Prior to the matchup, Bears head coach Lovie Smith said this was the best team he has ever brought into Gr... more

Like the preseason, Week 1 results can be misleading at times. But some things deservedly stand out -- more specifically, the teams and players with the potential to be great. Joe Flacco's performance Monday night was not a one-time success story, b... more

"I sell hope, kid." That's what Art Modell would tell me, regarding his role as owner of the Cleveland Browns and then the Baltimore Ravens. Giving fans hope, giving them a competitive team and, most importantly, giving them a good show -- these th... more

At this time of the year, with the preseason ending, everyone wants the answer to one simple question: Will my team be better or worse than last season? Looking into my crystal ball, I've predicted whether each team will exceed or fall short of... more


Associated Press Minnesota Vikings DE JaredAllen and New York Jets CB DarrelleRevis are two of the NFL's most dominant players. The 2012 NFL regular season is kicking off in just eight short days, and once again it's time for me to pick... more

Elise Amendola/AP The New England Patriots boast two of the best tight ends in the game: RobGronkowski (left) and AaronHernandez. With the NFL season just nine days away, it's time for my 2012 edition of blue-chip and red-chip players.... more

When I was in Los Angeles this offseason, I would pass the desk at my hotel every morning on my way to work. Jason, the gregarious man working the early shift, always presented me with the same question: "How are my Raiders going to be this year?"... more


Rick Havner/Associated Press Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton is a future NFL icon who would be a pivotal part of football's "Dream Team."   The NFL season is almost here and I could not be happier. The Arizona Cardinals will face the New... more

I just love the start of training camp. I hear optimism in every person I talk to, from every franchise in the league. Each team truly thinks it can win the Super Bowl, or at least contend. This is the only time of the year when everything is positiv... more

Who Dat Nation can finally rest easy with quarterback Drew Brees locked up long term. You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief coming from New Orleans Saints fans everywhere when he signed his five-year, $100 million deal. We all know Brees... more

Jerry Jones, owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, thinks his current group's window to win the Super Bowl is closing . Jones explained recently that having quarterback Tony Romo, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and tight end Jason Witten... more

We have entered my favorite month of the year. July is only my favorite month because it signals a new beginning for all 32 teams and a new year in the NFL for all to enjoy. The offseason topics have become stale. The New Orleans Saints' bounty sca... more


Associated Press Houston gave Arian Foster (left) a five-year, $43.5 million deal in March, which could make Ben Tate expendable.   A few months ago, I was listening to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban discuss his team's championship seaso... more

NFL The All-22 film allows viewers to see every player on the field at the same time -- a must in coaching circles.   When I was working for the Cleveland Browns back in the early 1990s, then-owner Art Modell routinely asked me questions... more

Remember back in grade school when we all had to write about what we did on our summer vacation? Well, after the 2012 NFL Draft ended, I took a great deal of time touring the European countryside, listening to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band... more


Oscar Wilde once said, "What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." This applies perfectly to the NFL draft. There's no need to be cynical when assessing how teams drafted. Some teams did great, some did dece... more

The Washington Redskins have released quarterback John Beck, a league source said Saturday. Beck started three games last season for the Redskins. The veteran QB became expendable after the Redskins selected quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Ki... more

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson is unhappy with his contract and would like to renegotiate it, a league source said Monday. Jackson signed a six-year, $44.8 million deal in 2008 and is scheduled to receive $7 million in base salary in 20... more

Yogi Berra once said, "It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future." Well, that's exactly what I'm being asked to do with the 2012 NFL Draft . I'm not talking about my mock draft -- that comes Wednesday -- but rather a general overview... more

Open letter to Blaine Gabbert ... Dear Blaine, I realize you have no idea who I am, or care to know, but my critical comments last December were not directed at you as a person, but rather, your performance as a rookie player in the NFL. This i... more

One of my greatest memories (and learning experiences) from my days as an NFL executive was being around Bill Walsh during draft preparation. The legendary San Francisco 49ers head coach had a unique perspective on the NFL draft -- one rooted in ti... more

Associated Press The presence of Bill Parcells (left) in New Orleans would have threatened GM Mickey Loomis' power base. Bill Parcells won't be coaching the New Orleans Saints on an interim basis. This is a loss for the Saints and the many fans o... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL USC's Matt Kalil projects as a franchise left tackle, making him an enticing target for the Vikings at No. 3 overall. The Minnesota Vikings are on the clock. Yes, I know neither the Indianapolis Colts nor the Washington Redskin... more

As the audio played of former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' speech to his team the night before the divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, all I could think was that the bounty scandal has gone from bad to... more

I have no idea what Donovan McNabb is talking about when he says quarterback Robert Griffin III isn't suited for the Washington Redskins and coach Mike Shanahan's offense . How can a player as talented as Griffin not excel in Shanahan's offense, o... more


Matt Slocum/Associated Press Bill Parcells (right) helped mold Sean Payton into the coach he is today during their time together in Dallas. Everyone knows the scene in "The Godfather: Part III" when an aging Don Michael Corleone utters his most... more

National Football League The Bucs landed a top deep threat in Vincent Jackson, but it cost $55.555 million (including $26M guaranteed). The beginning of the NFL Annual Meeting signals the end to free agency for most teams, as focus shifts from... more

On Monday, the New York Jets will introduce Tim Tebow as their newest quarterback. Whether he is their new starter or just a change of pace QB remains to be seen. All we know right now is that Tebow wanted to be a Jet. Debate: Tebow Time in NYC?... more

As March Madness has shrunk from 68 teams to 16, the Peyton Manning derby has been reduced from five teams to the final three. All three -- the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos -- are cautiously optimistic. Only one man knows... more

Associated Press Mario Williams, Marques Colston and Michael Bush (from left to right) are three of the bigger names on the market. The biggest free agent is already on the market, and he'll be joined at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday by a solid group of... more

Everywhere I go now, everyone asks the same question: "Where will Peyton play?" It happens so often, we might want to think about just abbreviating the question for text or twitter form to save on time: "WWPP?" Yet for me, the real question is no... more

I wonder what James Harrison is thinking right now. I am sure the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker is anxious to see what fines and suspensions NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has in store for the New Orleans Saints' personnel involved with the... more

The beginning of March means the beginning of Franchise Season in the NFL. So get ready to read about a flurry of taggings over the weekend and into Monday. The franchise tag allows teams to protect their investment -- which is a significant value... more


INDIANAPOLIS -- The St. Louis Rams have hit the lottery. Following Robert Griffin III's incredible NFL Scouting Combine workout -- which raised his already high stock even higher -- the Rams can hold their version of a Sotheby's auction with the N... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL Scouting Combine player workouts don't begin until Saturday, but the city is already buzzing from all the Peyton Manning talk, the Rams shopping their second overall pick to any team in desperate need of a quarterback and many ot... more

Michael Conroy/Associated Press Julio Jones wowed scouts with a 4.39 40-yard dash at last year's combine (on a fractured foot, to boot). This week the NFL will converge once again on Indianapolis, but instead of hosting a huge game, the city... more

Have you been watching basketball since football season ended? (Yes, we are in the dark ages of sports right now, before basketball really heats up. Don't worry, though, NFL Network coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine starts on Wednesday.) Have you... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- Late last night, in an apartment in New York City, the man responsible for bringing Eli Manning to the New York Giants was lighting up a victory cigar, just like many other New Yorkers. But for Ernie Accorsi, the former general manage... more

When I worked for the Oakland Raiders, we played the 2002 AFC Championship Game on a Sunday and Super Bowl XXXVII the next Sunday. Seven days between two huge games was too short. As a team, we needed more time to recover physically and mentally. Ha... more


US Presswire Bill Belichick (left) and Tom Coughlin are strong branches on the Bill Parcells coaching tree. I have a suggestion for the Super Bowl XLVI coin toss: The NFL should let Bill Parcells do the honors. By kickoff, the former Giants and... more

Tim Ruskell is out as the Chicago Bears' director of player personnel, according to a league source. Lombardi: XLVI things I loved After starting 2011 with 46 things to look forward to, Michael Lombardi now presents the 46 things he loved most... more

Super Bowl XLVI is here. Since I started the season with 46 things I was looking forward to , it seemed fitting to book end it with 46 things I loved about the 2011 season. In no particular order, I really enjoyed ... 1. Jason Pierre-Paul's emer... more

When the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, set out to find their new head coach, they clearly wanted something different. Something that couldn't be found in the standard pool of NFL assistants. Something that would solve their team'... more

The Oakland Raiders agreed to hire Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen as their next coach, league sources said Tuesday night. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported earlier Tuesday that the Raiders were close to finalizing a... more

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Two years ago, following a 2009 campaign that saw the New England Patriots lose a home playoff game to the Baltimore Ravens, I was talking with Bill Belichick about his team. The Patriots coach kept hammering home one conclusion:... more

Rafael Suanes/US Presswire John Harbaugh has yet to miss the playoffs as Ravens coach. Sunday will be his second AFC Championship Game. Entering the 2009 campaign, 11 teams had new coaches at the helm. Three seasons later, nine of those teams hav... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL Chip Kelly has a 34-6 record in three seasons as head coach at the University of Oregon. Having a 2-14 record in any season is hard to endure. It's difficult for the fans, the team and, most of all, the owner. And once the owne... more

In some movie credits, there's a special spot reserved for an actor who does not have top billing in the film, but was a bona fide star at one time. It's basically a respectful gesture from the producers, acknowledging a legend's limited contribution... more

Brian Schottenheimer has been offered the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator job and will accept the position on new coach Jeff Fisher's staff, a league source said Sunday night. All that's left to make it official is for the contract to be... more

The New York Jets are interviewing former Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar for an unnamed position , a league source said Friday. Debate: Should Jets ditch Sanchez? With Tony Sparano taking over the offense and confidence in... more

Back when I worked with Bill Belichick on the Browns, each year before the Indianapolis combine in late February we would make our annual trip down to Bloomington, Ind., and spend time talking to coach Bob Knight. First we would watch practice, then... more

Alan Maglaque/US Presswire Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan are 28-20 (and 4-2 in the playoffs) in three seasons together with the Jets. Editor's Note: NFL Network's Michael Lombardi has been all over the dysfunction in the Jets' organization for the pa... more

Ever since indoor football became a part of the NFL, I have always wanted to be the general manager of a dome team. My reasoning is simple: A dome with incredible crowd noise makes an average team good, a good team great and a great team a Super Bo... more

We used to have a saying at the Raiders when I worked there: "The jungle is never dangerous as long as you know the trails." With Reggie McKenzie coming on board as the new "football man" in Oakland, it appears that there no longer is going to be a... more

If a writer aims to sell a script to a Hollywood studio, the screenplay must include an interesting twist on page 12. Then an unexpected turn on page 37. And then a true shocker on page 50. And so on. The twists and turns must be intensely compelling... more

Romeo Crennel went 2-1 in his three games as the Kansas City Chiefs' interim coach. He also won the respect and support of multiple players, and now the Chiefs are poised to remove his interim label and retain him as their full-time coach, a league s... more

Fernando Medina/US Presswire Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is 0-2 in the postseason heading into Sunday's game against the Giants. Picture yourself as a high-level NFL executive. You have a starting quarterback who has been a solid, productive... more

The Minnesota Vikings plan to interview former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris for their defensive coordinator position, according to a league source. Morris interviewed with the Washington Redskins this week for a role coaching defen... more

John Rieger/US Presswire Romeo Crennel led the Chiefs to a 2-1 record after taking over as interim head coach before Week 15. One day in the mid-1980s, Bill Walsh was telling me about his overall football philosophy and what he felt was the best... more

Green Bay Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie will interview with the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday for the team's vacant general manager position, according to sources. McKenzie was named to his current position with the Pack... more

The Kansas City Chiefs' search for a new coach has begun, with the team scheduled to interview Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin on Wednesday, according to a league source. As the Packers' offensive coordinator since 2007, Phil... more

It did not take long for the offseason to start in the NFL. Less than 24 hours after the last regular-season game was played, three teams made huge changes: The Buccaneers and the Rams fired their head coaches, and the Colts cleaned house in the fron... more

Welcome to 2012 and the end of the NFL regular season. The best way to start the new year off properly is to have a few memorable playoff games for our viewing pleasure. We are now down to the final 12 teams -- some have a good chance to make a Super... more


Every morning on my way to work, I stop by the local Dunkin Donuts for my morning coffee. Working behind the counter is Mohammad, a huge football fan and a devoted Jets backer. After each game, Mohammad is either planning a Super Bowl trip or hoping... more

» CLICK HERE FOR LOMBARDI'S ANALYSIS OF THE AFC   The NFL announced its Pro Bowl rosters Tuesday night. Below, I share my thoughts on the players who made it and in a few instances some players who should be heading to Hawaii instead.... more

» CLICK HERE FOR LOMBARDI'S ANALYSIS OF THE NFC   The NFL announced its Pro Bowl rosters Tuesday night. Below, I share my thoughts on the players who made it and in a few instances some players who should be heading to Hawaii instead.... more

It was wonderful for those NFL teams that received the gift of a victory in Week 16; others essentially received coal in their stockings as the result of a loss. More on that later. Sunday night's game gave one team, the Packers, the gift of home-fie... more

What a double dose of good news for Colts fans. First, owner Jim Irsay went on NFL Network's Thursday Night Kickoff Show and told host Rich Eisen that if Peyton Manning is healthy, he foresees his star QB staying in Indy. Then, the Colts took the fi... more

We all know the fable about the little boy who cried wolf one too many times. What about a new one featuring an NFL head coach who always says he has the best team and the Super Bowl is near, yet never delivers on his bold predictions? Unfortunately,... more

Sunday night, members of the 1972 Dolphins uncorked champagne to celebrate the Packers' loss to the Chiefs as Miami remains the only NFL team to go through an entire season without losing. And the 2008 Lions will remain the only winless team since th... more

In the NFL, some things are never as bad or as good as they seem. But Thursday night, only half of that line was accurate. Things are not as good as they seem for the Falcons, but let me tell you: things are really as bad as they seem for the Jaguars... more

If the Cowboys don't make the playoffs this year, the title of their 2011 highlight tape will be, "Four Minutes to Fail." Beginning with their Week 1 loss to the Jets, the Cowboys have had the opportunity to win five of their six losses, but have fai... more

Former President Thomas Jefferson once said, "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Now, Jefferson was not talking about Tim Tebow or the 2011 Broncos and their current six-game winning streak, but his q... more

I love watching Browns-Steelers games, especially when they are played on a cold December day or night. How can you not like a rivalry like that? Both Pittsburgh and Cleveland have incredible fans who fanatically support their team. For the Steelers... more

I love watching the classic games on NFL Network. The other day, "The Catch" game was on featuring the Cowboys and the 49ers. Watching, I was amazed at how much each team stayed in basic formations, simple run sets, and ran basic offenses. For 1981,... more

It is funny how things turn out. The Broncos fired Josh McDaniels as coach last season because they did not share his vision or belief in the Patriot Way, and their fan base had turned against him. They hired John Elway to win back the fans and rebui... more

When I watched the Eagles play Thursday night, I was reminded of the Yogi Berra quote, "You can see a lot by observing." And there was much to see, mostly bad in Philadelphia's 31-14 loss to the Seahawks . Thankfully for Eagles fans, this season is o... more


Could it have been any busier in Jacksonville on Tuesday? There were five moves that, by themselves, would have merited big headlines: » Coach Jack Del Rio was fired » Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was named interim coach » General manage... more

Can things get any worse for the Houston Texans? First they lose Mario Williams, their best defensive player, for the season. That was followed by their All-Pro wide receiver, Andre Johnson, missing six games with a hamstring injury. Starting quarter... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL When the 49ers' running game is stopped, as it was Thursday in Baltimore, can Alex Smith carry the team? I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day, enjoying friends, family and football all day long. The games were good -- t... more

I realize 11 weeks into the NFL season, there is little doubt that the Most Valuable Player in the league is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But for me it is a close race. Well, it was . Jay Cutler of the 7-3 Chicago Bears was having a remarkable... more

Victories are hard to come by in the NFL. The whole concept of an ugly win was something I have never been able to comprehend. Thursday night, the Broncos earned a great win , and Tim Tebow has now led them to three straight. It might not have been... more

A good friend recently sent me an incredible video of General Mark Welsh speaking to the incoming members of the Air Force Academy. General Welsh spoke to the cadets about the importance of having attention to detail, respecting the people who came... more

I know former NFL commissioner Bert Bell was fond of saying, "On any given Sunday, any team in our league can beat any other team." But he never watched the teams in the NFC West play. Too many Sundays, there has been some bad ball emanating from the... more

One day back in 1992 when I was working for the Browns, I received a phone call from Raiders owner Al Davis asking me about -- but really ripping me for -- not trading for 49ers malcontent defensive end Charles Haley, since I was the reason Haley was... more

Below is my inaugural Midseason All-Pro Team. This was a lot of fun to put together, though there definitely were several difficult decisions. Here are a few quick notes about the process: » Since most NFL teams are veering away from... more

Flipping channels Sunday afternoon, I noticed former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali watching the Rams-Cards game from a suite in University of Phoenix Stadium. Seeing the original GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) and then switching to the Giants-Patrio... more

In the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," Gordon Lightfoot sings "the gales of November come early," referring to the storms that happen on Lake Superior. Those words also apply to the NFL as we flip the calendar and head into Week 9 -- some... more

Lopsided games are no fun to watch, even for the most hardened fans. And seeing as how the last three Sunday night games had a combined score of 135-24, Monday night's Chargers-Chiefs contest was a welcome relief. Though not well played, Chargers-Chi... more


Many people in the NFL won't acknowledge the media, saying they never pay attention to what is written or said about their team. But we all know that is not true, especially when the media is used to help motivate a team to play its best. Just ask... more

In a memorable moment in the NFL Network's "Bill Belichick: A Football Life," the Patriots coach was invited to a Halloween party by then-New England WR Randy Moss. Said Belichick: "It's a great holiday. Candy and costumes? Who can beat that?" I l... more

When I watched the Colts play the Saints on Sunday night, I thought of the scene in "The Godfather," where Don Corleone is meeting with the heads of the five families after the death of his son Sonny and asks everyone, "How did things ever get so fa... more

There always is a season-defining moment for teams. The Jets' came Sunday. Against the Chargers in the New Meadowlands, the Jets were getting beaten badly. New York trailed 21-10 at halftime and faced the prospect of going into its bye week with a... more

Mike Tyson once said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." The Vikings front office had a plan once the awful 2010 season ended -- they wanted to draft a quarterback for the future and sign a veteran quarterback so the rookie co... more

Back in September, Bengals owner Mike Brown talked about his supposedly retired quarterback Carson Palmer: "He's going to walk away from his commitment," Brown said. "We aren't going to reward him for doing it." So much for that. By trading Palmer... more

Back when current 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and I worked together at the Raiders, our sons competed in a father-son basketball tournament at their school called Runts And Grunts. It was supposed to be a friendly game, where the kids would play against... more

Bob Kluckhohn/US Presswire Joe Webb appeared in eight games for the Vikings in 2009 and 2010, but has not seen the field this season. Editor's Note: The following items also appear in Michael Lombardi's Oct. 14 column on the Eagles . 1.... more

As many of my readers know, I love Bruce Springsteen -- not only because the Boss is from my home state of New Jersey, but also because the words in his songs are poignant and applicable to daily life and even sports. One of my favorite lines in a... more

Back in the early 1970s, Dick Vermeil -- then an assistant coach at UCLA -- developed a chart for head coach Tommy Prothro to determine at what point in the game a team should go for one point or attempt a two-point conversion. Vermeil's chart (see b... more

The call would always come around 10 a.m. Never was there a hello, or small talk, just that distinctive voice saying he had three things to ask me. That's how Al Davis and I started most every day the entire time I worked for the Raiders. Mr. Davis w... more

US Presswire (Left to right) Jim Caldwell, Leslie Frazier, Steve Spagnuolo and Tony Sparano are all captaining 0-4 teams. The definition of true character is doing what is right when no one is watching. There are four winless teams in the... more

I feel bad for Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli. I feel bad for all the injuries. I feel bad for the toll they have taken on his team. But mostly, I feel bad for Pioli having to constantly watch his coach, Todd Haley, act like a maniac on the... more

Social activist Elliott Larsen once said, "Anger always comes from frustrated expectations." And every Eagles fan woke up angry Monday morning -- angry that their team gave up 21 unanswered points to lose to the 49ers ; angry that their team is now 1... more


Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh would always say that September was the month to play rookies to essentially define their roles and find out if they can eventually help the team win games in December. For Walsh, September was the time to learn -- about... more

To me, the most important concept of the West Coast offense as it was implemented under legendary San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh was not about the specific play designs, but rather a belief that in order to win you must establish the lead earl... more

Former Philadelphia Phillies manager Gene Mauch had an interesting take on losing streaks: He said, "Losing streaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning, you got off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you're in a slump. If yo... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Jim Schwartz and the Lions are off to a 2-0 start heading into Sunday's game in Minnesota. The NFL Network's "A Football Life: Bill Belichick" documentary that aired the past two Thursdays was as much of an inside... more

When is taking three points when you need 13 to tie with time running out in the fourth quarter a good idea? It happened Sunday in Tennessee . With 7:03 left in the game, down 13 on the road to the Titans, facing a 4th-and-11 at the Tennessee 12-ya... more

Ever have a rib injury where it is so hard to breathe that each time you do, it hurts? Imagine having a hard time breathing and then trying to raise your arm above your head to throw the football. The pain is beyond belief. Welcome to Tony Romo's wor... more

Week 2 provides us with a handful of great games, and I'll touch on many of them below, but to me the highlight of the weekend will be the Falcons hosting the Eagles . Michael Vick is returning to Atlanta on Sunday night to face his old team for th... more

Welcome to my weekly Game Management column. Each Wednesday, we will go over specific game situations and how coaches reacted. If it seems like a second-guess column, I refer you to what Browns owner Art Modell used to tell me: "Kid, I am not second... more

NFL/US Presswire Jay Cutler, left, and Joe Flacco combined to throw for more than 500 yards and five TDs in big Week 1 wins. The first weekend of real football started with an offensive showdown in Green Bay. Then, on Sunday, the Ravens... more

AP/US Presswire Crazy eights? New starters Matt Hasselbeck (left) and Rex Grossman face tough tasks in their respective divisions In the movie The Godfather II , Michael Corleone and Hyman Roth are sitting in a study watching a football gam... more

Before the opening of the season, it's natural for the media to rank teams based on the work organizations did in the offseason and how they looked in the preseason. I'd like to take a different tack. Two weeks ago, I unveiled my annual... more

Gregory Bull / Associated Press Vincent Jackson, with a base salary of $12 million, is the most expensive player on Michael Lombardi's roster. Watching all the teams this weekend make cuts and set their 53-man rosters gave me the itch to... more

The NFC East during the 1980s was as tough a division as the NFL has ever seen. In New York, there was Bill Parcells coaching Phil Simms to sling the ball around the windy Meadowlands. In Washington, there was Joe Gibbs and Joe Theismann in RFK with... more

August Illustration   With a nod to the final game in February, here are the XLVI things I am looking forward to as the 2011 NFL season kicks off. I. Sam Bradford. He was fun to watch last year as a rookie and I am looking forward to h... more

AP Ravens DT Haloti Ngata (left) and Chargers S Eric Weddle are among the NFL's best at their positions. It is blue-chip/red-chip time here at, which means ranking the top players and head coaches in the NFL. In last year's... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (left) and Niners TE Vernon Davis are among the best at their positions. It is blue-chip/red-chip time here at, which means ranking the top players and head coaches in the NFL.... more

Jeff Roberson / AP The Titans have been able to run the ball effectively in the preseason because of their offensive line. Losing in the preseason can actually be a good thing, as I explain in part one of this column . Now, here are the res... more

Which AFC team has the potential to be a sleeper in 2011 because of its offensive line play? Find the answer to that and more team-by-team observations in part two of this column . Eagles coach Andy Reid has to be smiling today. Why? Because his t... more

Kim Klement/US Presswire Is Tyler Palko a viable option for the Chiefs as a backup quarterback? The preseason is the time to find out. When I worked in the front office for NFL teams, I would keep an ongoing list of players during the... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Michael Vick came to Philadelphia as a third-string QB in 2009 before emerging as the starter in 2010. I found it interesting that Michael Vick claims that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was involved with his decisi... more

 The rookie quarterbacks stole all the headlines in Week 1 of the preseason. But there were plenty more things I learned from watching the first 15 games. » The Bears are still having major issues with their offensive line. It's early yet, b... more

Week 1 of the preseason is almost in the books, with one game (Jets at Texans ) remaining Monday night. So what have we learned so far? A great deal. Not enough to draw firm conclusions about players or teams, but enough to shed some light on both.... more

Sponsorship is vital in many sports. In golf, unless a young player is sponsored -- i.e. has someone covering his expenses while he trains to become a pro -- he has little chance of making it to the PGA Tour on his own. Same in boxing. Someone has... more

Are the Jets really better with 33-year-old Plaxico Burress (soon to be 34), who has a chronic ankle injury and 37-year-old Derrick Mason, instead of Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards? Cotchery and Edwards combined for 94 catches last season,... more

No team can lay claim to winning the Super Bowl in the offseason and improving a roster is a yearlong endeavor. However, the shortened free-agent period has allowed some teams to improve on paper while others left us wondering if they received the me... more


New England is the perfect environment for Albert Haynesworth. I love this acquisition by Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Is Haynesworth difficult? Without question. But surround him with the right teammates, like the strong leaders in the Patrio... more

The lockout is over and the two sides, the owners and players, have retreated into their respective corners. The natural question -- who won? Whenever there is a significant battle, instinct says one side has to win. Treaties are drawn and new rules... more

Hooray, football is back! Well, sort of back. At least the pads and helmets are back, although it seems there is little need for them anymore during the week. Under the terms of a new agreement, teams will be required to conduct only one full-con... more

As far back as a year ago, when the NFL lockout loomed and there was a growing reality that it would happen, I began thinking about the unique problems it would create. There is no underestimating the importance of direct daily contact between play... more


There has been much debate about "The Top 100 Players of 2011" as voted on by the NFL players all over the internet and on the television. My first reaction once the first group of 10 was announced was to hold off my commentary, instead waiting until... more

The league owners came, they went and yet the NFL is still locked out. What does this all mean? It means we are getting closer to a deal. Not close enough to not worry -- but close enough to be more optimistic that we will have a full football seas... more

Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press The Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title riding a team concept that some NFL franchises could learn from. "Dirk (Nowitzki) helps set the culture of the team. And culture is critically important for a winning... more

Morry Gash / Associated Press Gene Upshaw, union chief from 1983 until his death in 2008, always operated with the good of the game in mind. "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." -- Albert Einstein A rock with those words... more


Has Chad Ochocinco gone completely mad? In the last few years, he's changed his name, had two reality shows, danced with the stars, took part in a Major League Soccer tryout, became a social-media darling on Twitter, and acted borderline crazy.... more

Matt York / Associated Press Matt Leinart and Pete Carroll found success together at USC, but would a reunion in Seattle have the same impact? One of the fun things to do during a normal offseason is to the connect dots. For example, a coac... more

In past years, the month of May gave every team a chance to celebrate its offseason achievements, with most organizations being overly optimistic that their work would result in a Super Bowl contender. However, this year, things are different. Way... more

With a few days now to reflect on what happened in the 2011 NFL Draft , it's a perfect time to review it in its totality. Some things I loved, hated, am not too sure about, and some things I think need explaining. Five things I liked 1. I liked Dan... more

Charles Cherney / Associated Press The Bears have taken heat for the non-trade with the Ravens that helped them get Gabe Carimi without moving up. With a few days to reflect on the NFL draft, it's time to examine one of the stranger things... more

Now that the 2011 NFL Draft is over, and I've had a little time to digest what happened, here are the things that interested me most. Smiling in St. Louis If I am the Rams, I am happy right now -- happy that no team in the NFC West added a quarterb... more

One thing that really confuses me after an NFL draft is grades based on how teams filled their overall needs. Yet, before the draft, the discussion is all about teams needing to pick the best players instead of just specifically filling needs. This... more

I love Bruce Springsteen. From him being a native of my home state of New Jersey to his music and words, he has always been a source of sensibility in my life. Therefore when he released his CD "The Rising" containing songs regarding the tragic eve... more


The year was 1987, and I was carrying all of Bill Walsh's NFL Scouting Combine material as we entered the Hoosier Dome to observe the quarterback prospects, who were preparing for their workouts. I always loved this time of the year with Coach Walsh.... more

I am going out on a limb with two predictions. The first is that no team wants the first overall pick in the draft. In fact, if Carolina wanted to trade the pick, it would lose the trade based on the perceived value of the first overall pick. In th... more

As the NFL draft draws closer next week, understand that this is when we will begin hearing about teams wanting to trade up or down, or targeting a certain player or position. To which I say: Believe none of it. Most teams are just posturing in a... more

Of course, there are no do-overs when it comes to the NFL draft. You simply live with the picks you make, whether they work out or not. But what if teams could go back and rewrite history? This week, will do just that by looking at each draft... more

Of course, there are no do-overs when it comes to the NFL draft. You simply live with the picks you make, whether they work out or not. But what if teams could go back and rewrite history? This week, will do just that by looking at each draft... more

Here are five things I think about the 2011 draft: Where's the tape speed? I think I wish I could see Julio Jones play as fast on tape as he worked out in Indy at the combine. I just can't find that speed on tape (maybe he was injured) but his... more

John Reed / US Presswire Nick Fairley might be talented, but his commitment to play every down concerns teams. I love the draft, and I am a self-admitted draftnik. In fact, when I was in college the only time I ever got up early (before noo... more

Brett Davis / US Presswire Von Miller is the of the few true blue-chip players in the 2011 draft and should be able to make an immediate impact. Every draft is filled with blue-chip players. Sometimes they come off the board early -- such w... more


Marvin Gentry / US Presswire Mark Ingram could be a first-round pick, but teams must realize that doesn't mean he'll have an instant impact. We are about a month away from the 2011 NFL Draft. At this point, almost all of the individual... more

After writing about the teams in the top 10 that need quarterbacks last week , I felt the Vikings deserved a column devoted entirely to their problems. The Vikings pick 12th and badly need QB help. However, the issues go beyond just adding a... more

The most striking thing about the teams picking in the top 10 of this year's draft is that seven have quarterback as one of their top needs. Some believe that number should be nine, but the Browns and Redskins insist they won't draft one with their t... more

Once the labor situation is sorted out, we will have an actual offseason. When that comes, the major story will be what teams will make a play for Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb. Many teams need a quarterback, so the competition for Kolb shou... more

The Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins will meet with Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett ahead of next month's NFL draft, league sources said Monday. Some analysts project Mallett, who is coming off strong performances at the N... more

The Jets' Brad Smith must be hoping it is not true. In fact, he might be praying the latest potential change in the kickoff rules is really a bad dream. If the NFL decides to move the ball up -- yes up to the 35-yard line -- thus allowing kickers to... more

Kevin Terrell / Associated Press The lockout could very well be a blessing for the Titans' Mike Munchak and other new head coaches. Remember in elementary school when you also received grades for behavior and how you spent your free time?... more

Todd J. Van Emst / Associated Press Can Newton's efforts to be the No. 1 overall draft pick now transfer off the field. As we all wait for good news coming from the labor talks, there isn't much major news in the league that isn't draft... more

With labor talks continuing, the draft is center stage when it comes to personnel matters. This year's crop is filled with talent, but there is not a unanimous No. 1 pick at this point. With the Panthers holding the top slot, there has been much talk... more

Before every NFL Scouting Combine , the general talk around league circles centers on not allowing workouts to change a player's grade, positively or negatively. In fact, prior to last year's combine, Bill Parcells, then running the draft for the... more


INDIANAPOLIS -- There seems to always be a major theme that dominates the draft talk before and after the NFL Scouting Combine . In my 25 years coming here, one player typically becomes the focal point. Buzz about this prospect usually differs so muc... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL It's one thing to run a fast 40-yard dash in shorts on a fast track, but does that speed translate to the football field? INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul Brown started this whole mess. But I bet the man who invented the use of a... more

James D. Smith / Associated Press If teams draft strictly by their biggest need, a talented player like Dez Bryant might not have landed in Dallas. It's a positive step the owners and players are talking, but if a new CBA isn't reached, thi... more

Ron Chenoy / US Presswire Questions about Tim Tebow being a starting QB means the Broncos will have some tough choices in the draft. The Denver Broncos own the second overall pick in the draft and have many holes to fill. Picking defensive... more

The New York Jets are willing to let cornerback Antonio Cromartie explore free agency this offseason, sources said Wednesday. The Jets hope to re-sign wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards first because they want to maintain continuity... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL Scouts might be wise not to let the 40-yard dash affect their overall evaluation of players too much. The offseason means player evaluations are happening all over the league, so I thought I might give you a few reminde... more

David Butler II / US Presswire Tom Brady has some veteran targets, but the Pats must find a vertical threat to help open up the passing game. My first year in the National Football League (1984), I was a member of a 49er team that won 15... more

When I was a senior in high school at Valley Forge Military Academy, every cadet complained about the dark ages -- the time between returning from Christmas break to going on spring break. This was due to the depressing weather and having to march ea... more

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Let the trumpets sound. We have a champion. Congratulations to the Packers for an incredible season despite great hardships. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sensational all season and proved to be the best player in Green Bay's 31... more

DALLAS -- You can almost hear Vince Lombardi screaming to his players from the sideline, "What the hell is going on out here?" If the legendary Green Bay Packers coach were alive today, he might be asking the same question. Because what's going on... more


Associated Press Neither Mike Tomlin, nor Mike McCarthy were popular hires at the time they were brought in. I was recently in New York City talking with Bob Boland, the head of sports management at New York University, and he made an... more

The Philadelphia Eagles will use their franchise tag on Michael Vick next month, a league source said Sunday, ensuring the quarterback will be back for the 2011 season. Vick, who enjoyed a breakout 2010 campaign, repeatedly has said he wants to sta... more

Sometimes, someone can stay at one place too long -- even in football. Change in the NFL is part of the culture and not always bad. Jeff Fisher leaving the Tennessee Titans does not surprise me. What surprises me is that he is leaving now. I... more

Charles Krupa / Associated Press The mood in Pittsburgh was joyous after the Steelers held off the Jets for their eighth trip to the Super Bowl. The setting in Pittsburgh proved to be the perfect backdrop for the Steelers to earn their eigh... more

When I worked for CBS, the stories about "The NFL Today" were endless and entertaining, but most every story involved legendary commentator Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder. The Greek each week would discuss three games with host Brent Musberger, then tell t... more

Trying to pick up the pieces after losing a playoff game is never easy. There is anger, frustration, instant blame, and hopefully after the sting of losing subsides, there is a sense of realism. Making decisions right after a bitter loss is never sma... more

New head coach John Fox began putting together his staff Monday, but he still needs a defensive coordinator, and NFL Network analyst Jim Mora is interested, a source with knowledge of the situation said Monday. Mora, 49, is the former head coac... more

The Miami Dolphins are set to announce Brian Daboll as their offensive coordinator, a league source said Monday. Daboll, who spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, takes over for Dan Henning on coach Tony Spara... more

What a great weekend of football the divisional round brought us, with the biggest highlight being Aaron Rodgers' performance against Atlanta. We got to see Rodgers play the position like no other -- at least this postseason. With Tom Brady, Drew Bre... more

The Dallas Cowboys hired Rob Ryan as their new defensive coordinator, a league source confirmed Sunday. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora previously reported that Ryan and the Cowboys met Friday, and both sides came away impressed. Ryan has o... more

Ed Andrieski / Associated Press Does John Elway have the chops to make the tough decisions as an executive for the Broncos? A few years ago I was asked by a production company about the possibility of a reality show in which 10 contestants... more

Sometimes, getting what you wished for might be a curse. So I really hope Ron Rivera knows what he just walked into by accepting the offer to be the Carolina Panthers' next head coach. Rivera becomes the fourth head coach in the 18-year history o... more

The Cleveland Browns are moving toward a head-coaching hire, according to a league source, and a decision could be made by Thursday. All indications are that St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, the first candidate to interview for the... more

During the playoffs, we often hear the popular refrain from players and coaches, "It's hard to win on the road." But is that really the case after watching Wild Card Weekend? Three of the four home teams lost. No one thought -- including me -- Sea... more

Indications are that Todd Bowles will be the Dallas Cowboys' next defensive coordinator, but he isn't coach Jason Garrett's first choice. League sources say Bowles' Miami Dolphins counterpart, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, is the No. 1 target,... more

Did anyone really think Vince Young was going to be the quarterback of the Titans next season? I know owner Bud Adams has loved Young since his glory days at the University of Texas, but Adams had little choice but to adhere to his executives'... more

The Minnesota Vikings are considering erstwhile Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels as their next offensive coordinator. A league source confirmed that McDaniels is expected to meet with the Vikings on Friday in regard to the position, currently he... more

Michael Conroy / Associated Press The Colts earned the No. 3 seed in the AFC by beating Tennessee, but going back to the Super Bowl will be tough. After 17 grueling weeks, the playoffs are finally here. Twelve teams technically have a chanc... more

Tom Cable is unlikely to return as the Oakland Raiders' coach, a league source said Sunday. Raiders owner Al Davis is expected to survey the coaching landscape, and he will not decide Cable's future until some time in the middle of the month.... more

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is on the short list of candidates to take over the University of Pittsburgh's football program, a league source said Sunday. Lewis was emotional following Sunday's 13-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. "I can... more

John Elway provided the Denver Broncos with their most memorable moments and both of their Lombardi Trophies. Now, he's being tabbed to direct yet another comeback. The Hall of Fame quarterback reached an agreement with the Broncos to join their fr... more

Jason Garrett had the interim tag removed and will be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, a team source said Sunday. The Cowboys interviewed receivers coach Ray Sherman to satisfy the NFL's "Rooney Rule," which requires teams to interview at leas... more


The season is coming to an end and a new year awaits all of us. With many people setting resolutions for 2011, the idea of change is also very much at the forefront for teams not heading to the playoffs. In fact, many organizations have already sta... more

David Duprey / Associated Press Former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels should not be overlooked by teams searching for a new coach. One of my favorite lines of the show Mad Men to happen this year was when Dr. Faye Miller, played by Cara Buono... more

The Mike Singletary era is over in San Francisco and it was not pretty to watch from the start to the painful finish Sunday in St. Louis. The 49ers have finally decided to move on and now the burden falls upon their front office to hire the right co... more

Charles Krupa / Associated Press Santa and his many helpers will be busy this holiday season dishing out gifts to teams and players in need. It is Christmas time and, as they say in the movie "Home Alone", it is "the season of perpetual... more

The Tim Tebow era has begun in Denver without the man that handpicked him to be the future of the franchise. With Josh McDaniels no longer the head coach of the Broncos, the team is still moving forward with Tebow as the future. Is this risky? I wo... more

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was cleared to play after missing one game while he recovered from his second concussion of the season, a league source confirmed Tuesday. Rodgers, who sat out last Sunday's 31-27 loss to the New England... more

Lightning does strike twice December 20, 2010

It should have never happened. Really, it never should have happened, but that is why we call it a miracle. The first Miracle at the Meadowlands came in 1978 -- before Michael Vick was even born (more on that later) -- when I was a college student... more

I love to watch "Morning Joe" on MSNBC every day, not because I am a political junkie, or belong to any political party, but rather because I love to hear different viewpoints on the same subject. I believe that Jack Nicholson is right when he once s... more

First the Brad Childress era collapsed in Minnesota, then the roof of their stadium collapsed, and finally Brett Favre's incredible 297-consecutive games started streak collapsed. Everything is falling apart in Vikings Land, and it's time to pick up... more

There's a saying: Never confuse hope for a plan. It's one of my favorites. And with the weather changing in most NFL cities, hoping teams can deal with the elements is not the best course of action. Having a plan is essential, but not every team has... more

Susan Walsh / Associated Press The Albert Haynesworth drama doesn't scratch the surface of what's wrong with the Redskins. There is trouble brewing in Washington, and it doesn't involve the Senate or the White House. Redskins Nation, your... more

What happened to Josh McDaniels on Monday, being fired not even two full years into his tenure with the Denver Broncos, was, as Yogi Berra once said, "Déjà vu all over again." At least it was for me. I saw this before, back in 1996, when I was... more

Don't you love when teams who genuinely hate one another square off? Webster's defines hate as disliking somebody or something intensely, often in a way that evokes feelings of anger, hostility or animosity. That description fits for how some... more

With five weeks to go in the regular season, we are fortunate to have a Week 13 that features a preview of some possible playoff games. From the Sunday night game featuring the Steelers and the Ravens, to the Monday night game featuring the two bes... more


Another videotaping scandal hit the NFL last week, this time from the Denver Broncos but with some of the same folks associated with the New England Patriots controversy of 2007. Broncos videographer Steve Scarnecchia, formerly of the Patriots and... more

Week 12 is over and we are now three quarters of the way through the season -- one that has not gone to plan. Most everyone's preseason Super Bowl predictions are down the tubes, and now is a good time to take a mulligan and re-examine things. Nine... more

The slate of Thanksgiving games featured two second-year head coaches -- Jim Schwartz of the Lions and Rex Ryan of the Jets. Ryan's short time as a head coach has been filled with success, but Schwartz has struggled to produce wins for the Lions.... more

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer returned to practice Wednesday, but sources close to the team said his injured foot still hasn't healed. So the team will have to make a game-time decision on Palmer's availability for Thursday night's mee... more

Ann Heisenfelt / Associated Press Was Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's (right) hiring of Brad Childress as head coach in 2006 a typical result of politics? Brad Childress' time as Vikings head coach ended on Monday , and I sincerely feel bad for... more

There were some amazing finishes on Sunday, clearly an indication that the best football lies ahead in the NFL. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has always maintained the season starts at Thanksgiving . And the signature game the weekend before... more

The top 10 all-time heavyweight fights features two of the three Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier bouts. Every time those two entered the ring, it was a fierce battle in which even the victor was left with a few scars. If the NFL ranked its top heavyweight... more

After winning his second-straight overtime road game, Jets coach Rex Ryan said that all good teams are the luckiest, and he is so right. The Jets are not just lucky, though. They are also well prepared and coached in critical situations. In the past... more

Kathy Willens / Associated Press The Cowboys were able to snap a five-game losing streak by stunning the Giants on Sunday. With 10 weeks of football in the books, no one team has separated itself as a Super Bowl favorite. No team is playing... more

The Randy Moss experiment will work in Tennessee. It will work because the Titans' offense runs the routes that Moss can run. It will work because Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger loves to throw down the field and views the deep ball... more

As most of you know by now, my all-time favorite television show is "The Sopranos". It appeals to my acute interest in the mob, and it was set in my home state of New Jersey with a plot wrapped around an Italian family -- things I can relate to. Un... more

With 4:39 left on the clock, Minnesota trailed Arizona by 14 and the Brad Childress era seemed to be coming to an end for the Vikings. But the players did not quit and quarterback Brett Favre saved his best for last, bailing out the team and saving t... more

Randy Moss has never been shy to speak his mind, therefore the events of this week have less to do with food and more to do with his lack of respect for Vikings coach Brad Childress. Moss, who, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune , told Vikin... more

Even before Randy Moss was shockingly put on waivers by the Vikings, before the Chargers followed suit with another Pro Bowl player, and before JaMarcus Russell was brought in by the Redskins for a tryout, the week in the NFL had already gotten off t... more

My father is 83 years old, still cuts hair every day and loves the New York Yankees. But he really loves the 40's version of the Yankees, the team led by Joe DiMaggio. Nothing the current team could accomplish would ever be good enough to replace the... more


With all due respect to wide receiver Roy Williams, the Cowboys, as an organization, are about to learn what life without quarterback Tony Romo will be like. For some Cowboys fans, they know this is going to be miserable. For the anti-Romo folks, t... more

The Chicago Bears are tied for first place in the NFC North, but they do not have the look, swagger, or the performance level of a team that will maintain its divisional status for much longer. In fact, they have the look of a team that is going to... more

Jack Dempsey / Associated Press Behind Darren McFadden's four-touchdown effort, the Raiders had a record-setting day vs. the Broncos. Week 7 provided history, some great, some good, some bad and some extremely bad. As Broncos coach Josh... more

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson will not play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, a league source said just hours before kickoff. The Falcons later confirmed the move when they released their inactives list. Robinson sustained a... more

It's was fun to look into a crystal ball and predict the future, especially in the height of summer trying to figure out which team has a Super Bowl feel to it. The Packers this summer looked super, and I had them going to the big game. Since then,... more

The Cowboys are on heightened alert after a 1-4 start. Dallas, coach Wade Phillips in particular, needs to review my five-step plan for recovery to have any hope of saving itself from disaster. Step 1: Be a leader, Wade Owner Jerry Jones needs to c... more

We hear coaches talk about toughness all the time, and I am sure most of you probably think, how can a team not be tough, certainly a player has to be tough to play in the league. But being tough is not for just one moment, it requires being able to... more

I know it's hard to admire, or even like guys who play for teams that don't hold our rooting interest. Trust me, I know. I grew up a Redskins fan and could never warm up to Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach because he wore that silly star on his... more

On Sunday, during the first wave of games, we saw two different teams begin with an onside kick, almost at the same exact time. Since last season's Super Bowl when the Saints opened up the second half with one, the onside kick has been back en vogue,... more

Unpredictable, stunning, confusing and at times just strange is the best way to describe the events of Week 5. But this time of the year, there are always games that leave us asking how could this happen. How could the Raiders beat the Chargers? W... more

Sometimes change is needed for everyone. When I worked for the Raiders, I had a huge sign in my office that was a quote from Eric Shinseki, the former Chief of the United States Army. It read: "If you don't like change, you are going to like irrele... more

Sometimes when managing a game, you have to closely evaluate it as it progresses because not all situations that you practice match up with what unfolds on the field. How the game is being played by the offense or defense does affect how you manage t... more

Matt Slocum / Associated Press The Eagles struggled offensively vs. the Redskins when Kevin Kolb (center) had to replace an injured Michael Vick. We had been waiting for the moment since Easter Sunday, the day the shocking trade of Donovan... more

Mike Singletary is a Hall of Fame linebacker, who played the game with incredible passion and toughness. But does his background as a player make him a quality head coach? Not unless he has put the time in to learn the game as it is played today. T... more


Sometimes the emotion and frustration of the game can cause you to make a mistake. It is the nature of the business because there are only 16 games (soon to be 18) and each one is critical, but the ones in your own division have even greater importan... more

Aaron M. Sprecher / NFL The Cowboys were a popular Super Bowl pick heading into the season, but didn't earn their first win until Sunday. Sometimes perceptions become reality, but that is definitely the exception. Case in point, there is a... more

One of the most important qualities of leadership is called Management of Trust, which simply means that, as a leader of an organization, the staff trusts that every decision is made without an agenda and with the good of the company in mind. To be... more

We hear the term "situational football" often during a game, but do we really -- and I mean really -- understand what it means? Yes, every football fan knows the situation of having to run out the clock for the win, or needing to get the ball back... more

There are defining moments in every season. Some of those moments can be good, some can be bad, but those moments rarely come in September. The Buccaneers are 2-0, and should be proud, but their team is a long way from being defined. The same can b... more

Week 2 offers more clues about which teams have a legitmate chance to compete for a Super Bowl and which teams have more work to do. While all the attention in Sunday night's Manning Bowl (Giants at Colts) will be placed on the quarterbacks, this ga... more

Bradley C. Bower / Associated Press Andy Reid (left) and Brad Childress learned from each other in the six years they were together in Philadelphia. I will admit, I am obsessed when it comes to game management in ANY football game. Whether... more

Stephan Savoia / Associated Press The Patriots' questions on defense were becoming clearer as Carson Palmer's day grew more obscure. FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- From the buildup of excitement to the games themselves, Week 1 is the beginning of a lo... more

Remember in "The Godfather," when Sonny gets shot? Vito Corleone tells Tom Hagen to call the undertaker, Bonasera, saying "we are going to need him now." That was my reaction with regard to Tarvaris Jackson. At some point this season the Vikings ar... more

Pat Sullivan / Associated Press The warning signs were there, but the Cardinals still expected great things of Matt Leinart. Now he's in Houston. I was in the airport the other day in Philadelphia when a nice older gentlemen strolled over t... more

The magic number right now throughout the NFL is 53. If you were among those chosen for the final 53-man roster you're breathing a sigh of relief. There have been tons of storylines to monitor this offseason, but in keeping with the theme of... more

The Denver Broncos traded cornerback Alphonso Smith to the Detroit Lions for tight end Dan Gronkowski and an undisclosed draft pick, a league source said Saturday. The Broncos later confirmed the trade while announcing their cuts. Smith's departu... more

Today, Sept. 3, marks the 40th anniversary of Vince Lombardi's death. Much has happened in the NFL since the legendary Packers coach passed, but his legacy lives on, growing stronger each day. This is largely due to the wonderful stories that conti... more

Whenever you hear a coach say he has to "manage" his quarterback, a red flag immediately goes up and everyone thinks the player is just not good enough. The term "managed quarterback" usually means more runs, fewer passes, a simpler offense and... more


Week 3 of the preseason has come to an end, which means it's time for teams to begin trimming the roster fat, so to speak. Most of you have put together your fantasy teams with great detail and thought to ensure you have a great season, covering... more

Brett Favre is back with the Vikings, there have been more sightings of Darrelle Revis then Elvis, and the rest of the league is filled with questions. I understand this is only the preseason, but the first two weeks have offered us some clues of som... more

This is the time of year that many teams face what fans might perceive as tough decisions regarding releasing popular players or high draft picks. However, in reality, these decisions are not hard for organizations to make as they enter Week 3 of the... more

The Vincent Jackson saga in San Diego took another twist over the weekend as the Chargers gave Jackson and his representative permission to talk to the Seahawks about a new contract. This is a dangerous step for the Chargers, considering Jackson h... more

I am willing to make a confession realizing my actions are not something to brag about. However, much like passing the supermarket tabloids with the intent of not reading, or at least not looking at the pictures, I often grab one. Yes, I am guilty.... more

Stephen R. Covey, who is a well-renowned business management writer famous for his classic "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", probably does not realize he is also an expert on dealing with training camp injuries. How so? Covey is not a me... more

An open letter to Jerry Rice: Dear Jerry, Thank you. Thanks for giving us 20 years of incredible play, for setting the standard at wide receiver that everyone for the next 50 years will be measured by. Thanks for all the one-handed catches, th... more

More than 2,500 players are running around in the heat and humidity throughout NFL training camps across America, trying their best to make a team or make their team better. But a few players have decided that missing camp will help enhance their con... more

Brian Garfinkel / Associated Press If the Eagles are to make the playoffs again this season, coordinator Sean McDermott and his defense will be key. This time of the year, everyone from owners to fans places the burden of winning on players... more


Associated Press Albert Haynesworth for Jacoby Jones? That trade could make sense for both the Redskins and Texans. I love the NBA trade machine that some basketball specific Web sites offer to their fans. It's so much fun to waste time... more

I love the Godfather movies -- all two of them. I know, I'm told a third exists, but c'mon, George Hamilton in the Godfather? Please! I really believe that in the two movies there is always a point of reference to anything that happens in the world... more

In my first year working with Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns, we had a draft meeting to go over the board and set some parameters on how many players should make the final board and the criteria we must work under. I quickly learned that... more

With the AFC player and coach rankings still being debated, it's time to reveal the NFC side of things to keep the discussion going. To review, I'm breaking down the amount of blue- (those among the top 10 at their position) and red-chip players (... more

Last year, Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy at and a good friend of mine, presented a column idea to me that was interesting. He wanted me to come up with a system to rank every NFL team by determining how many blue- and red-chip players each cl... more

Terrell Owens' story doesn't add up. Follow this timeline ... On Wednesday, Owens goes on WEEI radio in Boston and says the following: "People think that they have that perception about me. Of course. Any receiver ... what receiver that's out t... more

  Thanks to everyone for the dissenting opinions you left on my AFC rankings , letting me know, loud and clear, where I might have erred. Examining the AFC With training camp on the horizon, Michael Lombardi pairs his NFC preview with a deta... more

Al Behrman / Associated Press The Bengals' chances of returning to the playoffs depend on the performance of quarterback Carson Palmer. One of my favorite parts of the movie Forrest Gump is when Forrest is sitting on the bench telling the... more

I'm excited, I mean really excited to be debuting here on and with a writing schedule that almost duplicates Jimmy Buffett's 1999 CD Buffet live: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. My schedule will be in the same spirit, only working... more


The Oakland Raiders agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent defensive tackle John Henderson on Friday, according to a league source. Henderson, 31, has played each his eight NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, starting 120 of 124 games ove... more


In 1997, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was tired of offensive coordinator Jon Gruden's flirtations with the Oakland Raiders' head-coaching job and instructed me to find a young coach the organization could groom to become the next offensive... more


When I was a kid, I loved to play the board game Strat-O-Matic baseball with my two friends. We played day and night, occasionally taking a break to run down to the beach for a swim, but for most of our summer, we would focus on playing our game. W... more

Last year, as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, Rex Ryan tried to convince head coach John Harbaugh to go "all in" with his postseason preparation, planning the details down to the parade route after a Super Bowl victory. In fact,... more

The Jim Zorn era officially ended Monday , but we all know that the beginning of the end came last year, the Redskins started 6-2, then proceeded to finish the season 8-8 and once again not produce a playoff appearance for owner Dan Snyder. Talks... more


The most prevailing question asked by many fans as Week 15 came to a close has to be: Why didn't my team play like this all season? Fans of the Cowboys, Panthers, Raiders, Buccaneers, Ravens, and even the Browns have to be wondering: Why did it tak... more

Former Indiana and Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight once said, "The key is not the will to win. Everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that is important." To be well prepared for victory a team must have a teacher that can utilize... more


There is so much talk around the league now as to who might be the MVP, but it is still too early for me to make that decision. We are just about to enter the most crucial time of the season. Yes, Peyton Manning has been spectacular all season, ref... more

Matt Slocum / Associated Press From Detroit to Dallas, Thanksgiving Day football is one of the great traditions in sports. Thanksgiving week has to be one of the best weeks of the year for any football fan. It all starts with high-school... more

As many of you might know that read my columns, there are two things I love to write about: Game management and philosophical quotes. With that said, the following Mark Twain quote is very applicable to what happened last night at Indianapolis .... more

Sheldon Kopp was a psychotherapist and author, who once suggested, "Each person's only hope for improving his lot rests on his recognizing the true nature of his basic personality, surrendering to it, and becoming who he is". Dr. Kopp was not talki... more

Many people remember Gen. Douglas MacArthur's speech when he said, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away." For me, however, some of MacArthur's greatest words were delivered when he quoted poet Samuel Ullman in a speech on his 75th birthday.... more


Nick Wass / Associated Press Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has stripped the play-calling duties from Jim Zorn. But is play-calling the problem? When I first heard that the Redskins had decided to take away the play-calling duties from Jim Zor... more

In 1946, the NFL selected de Benneville "Bert" Bell, a former player and coach at the University of Pennsylvania, co-founder of the Philadelphia Eagles and one-time co-owner and coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, as its fifth commissioner. Learn mor... more

When I was a grade-school kid living in New Jersey, I loved two things about the fall: Redskins games and highlights. Growing up in the 1970s, however, getting to see highlights wasn't an easy chore. Often, I would have to wait until halftime of the... more


Former French leader Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "Victory belongs to the most persevering." Has there been a team that has persevered more than the Detroit Lions? Losing 19 straight games is a true test of perseverance for any sports team. Add... more

As we entered Week 2 of the NFL season seven of the 16 games were divisional games, which means great games. Playing a divisional rival is never easy, as the rivalries promote some of the best NFL football from both teams. Pride is on the line in... more

On the Monday following opening weekend during my 23-year NFL career, I would always remind myself, win or lose, of a line from a Jackson Browne song: "They forget about the losses and exaggerate the wins." It was a way of reminding me that the... more

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