Legendary Insight

by Kyle Kesses, Ricky Cibrano
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Author Ernie Palladino Speaks About His Newly Released Book

Kyle Kesses

Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry will be forever known for what they accomplished on the sideline in Green Bay and Dallas respectively. You probably already know that these two legends were cultivated as assistant coaches with the New York Giants under Jim Lee Howell in the 1950s. You probably don’t know, however, the details of the relationship shared by these great football minds.

You probably don’t know that Tom Landry began his coaching career to escape debt and harbored little aspiration to become a head coach. And you probably don’t know the story of Vince Lombardi’s exit from the New York Giants organization.

Ernie Palladino, in a well crafted book titled Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football’s Greatest Coaches Launched their Legends and Changed the Game Forever, documents the remarkable journey of both of these innovative men. The book begins with the story of the Giants teams of the 1950s that featured both Lombardi and Landry as coordinators and Howell as the team’s head coach. The book works its way through the professional lives of both Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry and exposes some enthralling pieces of information about both coaches.

Palladino sat down with Ricky Cibrano and I before the Fordham football team traveled to play the Army Black Knights on Saturday October 29th. We spoke with him for nearly a half hour in regards to the research that goes into such a detailed book and he touched on some of the finer points within his text.

Ricky Cibrano

Ernie Palladino’s book Lombardi and Landry: How Two of Pro Football’s Greatest Coaches Launched Their Legends and Changed the Game Forever, is a fascinating tale about the early days of the coaching careers of Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry.

Most NFL fans know the story of Lombardi’s days with Green Bay and Landry’s with Dallas, but not many know they both got their start as NFL coaches as assistants on the same Giants coaching staff. Lombardi and Landry roamed the same sideline from 1954-1958, and helped turn around a franchise that struggled for the past decade. It was with the Giants that Lombardi first ran his famed power sweep, and Landry first implemented the 4-3 defense. However, for all their genius as coaches, it is tough to envision two men who had less in common.

Lombardi, the outgoing New Yorker, was the embodiment of intensity, prone to fits of anger when his offense did not perform up his high standards. Landry, the quiet Texan, was almost more college professor than football coach—never raising his voice and always calm and stoic.

As detailed in Palladino’s book, their relationship was hardly a warm one, but with Jim Lee Howell playing the part of peacekeeper, the pair made it work, and in the process each launched a coaching career that turned out to be amongst the greatest the NFL has ever seen.

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