No NFL writer has eaten more crow in the last year than Mike Lombardi, who famously quipped Doug Pederson “might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen.” It was a foolish thing to say at the time, and clearly, the statement did not age well, seeing as Pederson guided the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship immediately after.
Well, Lombardi is the gift that keeps on giving. It wasn’t enough he had to eat those words and essentially admit that was probably the most profoundly stupid sentence a football person could string together. It turns out Pederson got one last chance to own Lombardi before his immortal line could fade into the background, taking its place along such whimsically remembered Philly sports quotes as “We’re talking about practice,” and “We can all count, those points would’ve helped.”
NBC Sports’ Peter King got a chance to preview Pederson’s new book, “Fearless: How an Underdog becomes a Champion,” co-written by Dan Pompei. The book, which goes on sale Tuesday, Aug. 21, contains an interesting nugget about the coach’s behind-the-scenes dealings with Lombardi.
That got a ton of attention last year when Pederson was on the road to winning the Super Bowl. Pederson, in the book, says Lombardi wrote him a letter during the playoffs last season. “It was written on a typewriter, and was about three paragraphs long,” Pederson writes. “The letter said, ‘The first rule of any informed opinion is to never began with the end in mind. And I violated that rule. For that, I extend my sincere apology.’ I was appreciative, and at least it showed he was man enough to admit he was wrong.”
Then this: “After the Super Bowl, the possibility of writing this book came up. One of the interested companies thought Lombardi would be a great co-author and submitted an offer. I said, respectfully, ‘No thanks.’”
And now you know the rest of the story.
Maybe it shouldn’t surprise in 2018, but to think somebody got the idea that Lombardi should be the person to help tell Pederson’s story, and actually had the audacity to ask Pederson this is crazy. Lombardi said about the most disrespectful thing possible about another man’s career, his livelihood — and most importantly, was completely, 100 percent wrong — but, sure, let’s check with Pederson and see how he feels about this.
You might even say Lombardi was probably the least qualified person for the job.
Lombardi did go on to write a book, by the way. While it’s not an autobiography, nor does the title refer to the author, does anybody else find a smidgen of irony in the book’s title, “Gridiron Genius?”