A prominent AFL coach spent his week off earlier this season chasing knowledge around the USA.
During Hawthorn’s bye week, Alastair Clarkson travelled to the States and while on his trip, chased well known NFL figure Michael Lombardi across the country.
The reason? Just to pick his brain.
Lombardi has acted as close counsel to six-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Belichick over the years, having worked with the enormously successful New England Patriots as assistant to the coaching staff.
On his podcast, the GM Shuffle, Lombardi spoke of his recent trip to Melbourne and time spent with SEN Breakfast's Garry Lyon and Tim Watson before embarking on the Clarkson story.
“One of the coaches, he flew to Las Vegas to see me,” Lombardi said.
“And then he flew from Las Vegas to New Jersey just to be on the plane. He sat next to me. I don’t know how he did it.
“We talked for five hours and then after that, I said, ‘just stay at the hotel’. He stays at the hotel at the airport. The next day, he gave me a book that I thought he wanted me to keep and I put it in my bag, but he needed it back.
“So at 7:30 (am), he’s at my house the next morning and (Lombardi’s wife) Millie’s like, ‘you didn’t even offer him any coffee’.
“He wanted it (the book) which was fine, but this man was basically in the air more than he was on the ground on his bye week.”
Asked by podcast co-host Adnan Virk why Clarkson had followed him from one side of the US to the other, Lombardi said: “It really wasn’t (to learn from) me, it was the Patriots.
“People are looking for this recipe to Belichick. What makes them (the Patriots) so successful?
“They keep searching and the reality of it is, it’s doing the same thing over and over again, but people don’t want to hear that.”