Mick Lombardi spent many of his childhood and teenage years at Oakland Coliseum, watching the likes of Charles Woodson and Rich Gannon. Now close to two decades later, he'll coach the likes of Derek Carr and Darren Waller.
When the new offensive coordinator showed up Friday to his introductory press conference, it wasn't the first time he had worn the illustrious Silver and Black. His father, Michael Lombardi, was the team's Senior Personnel Executive from 1998-2007. While his father was still in the Raiders front office, Mick left Oakland to return back east to attend Fordham University, and there with the Rams, he made his first steps into the family business of football.
"Obviously, my father has a vast experience in the personnel department, and he has instilled in me a great love for football," Mick Lombardi said. "My time in high school ... I would go down to the Raider facility and I would use old beta tape and I would cut out tape and use the time codes and stuff like that and make up the POA tapes.
"But I knew that in terms of teaching, in terms of talking and having involvement with players, I always enjoyed that as a player. I was able to go to school at Fordham and that coaching staff was so great to me and they allowed me to get my coaching career started. I really loved being with the players and talking about football with players and helping players get better on that personal level."
Lombardi got his first taste of the NFL in 2012 as a scouting assistant with the New England Patriots, before heading back to The Bay to work with the San Francisco 49ers for four seasons. He eventually found himself back under the tutelage of Josh McDaniels as part of the Patriots offensive staff, working his way up to wide receivers coach.
"Mick's a really smart, young coach. Works really hard, he's coached multiple positions on the offense," McDaniels said after bringing Lombardi with him from New England. "He's well-versed in our system. I have total confidence in him as a teacher, his ability to communicate with the players and the staff, and he's a tireless worker. There's nothing that I've given Mick to do that he hasn't done better than I thought he would. Just a huge advantage for me."
The 33-year-old coach gives a lot of credit to McDaniels for smartening him up to the NFL. Alongside Lombardi's father, the Raiders head coach has been extremely instrumental to the progress and success Lombardi has had up to this point in his young career.
"I didn't know anything. I knew how to pick up players that airport. I knew how to make a POA tape," he said, reflecting on joining the Patriots in 2012. "And Josh was very good to me in terms of being understanding that, 'This as a young guy. I need to teach a lot, doesn't know anything,' and I was open to that."
"I've been so grateful for him," continued Lombardi, "and what he's taught me in terms of playing complimentary football, teaching the techniques, coaching the entire offensive scheme, how you see things from a global perspective as opposed to just your position-specific idea. I'm so grateful for him for that and I'm going to work hard really to do that for him, for the Raiders."
Possibly no one is more proud of Mick Lombardi than his own father.
Michael, now co-host of The GM Shuffle podcast on VSIN, has had ties with Las Vegas long before his son. He was the recruiting coordinator for UNLV in the early 1980s – helping recruit NFL legend Randall Cunningham to the university. With his son now running the Raiders offense, it gives him a proper excuse to return to his old stomping grounds.
"He grew up in a house with a lot of Raider stuff around it," said Michael Lombardi. "So he knows the history of the team, which I think is really important when you're working for the Raiders, to understand the history. He understands the importance of what it takes and I think that part of his DNA is a great start. He doesn't need to listen to The Autumn Wind to understand what Mr. Davis was all about because he lived through it."
Self-confidence is the biggest area of improvement Michael said he's seen in his son since the beginning of Mick's coaching career. He also mentioned that Mick's time with the Patriots helped develop his incredible attention to detail along with the priority of self improving every day and diligently preparing for opponents.
"He's not afraid of confrontation," continued Michael Lombardi. "He's willing to say what he thinks. He's willing to coach players and not tell them what they want to hear, but tell them what they need to know. And I think he's always believed in the greatest reward in doing is the opportunity to do more."
Mick is tasked with coaching an offense that saw a successful 2021 campaign. Carr threw nearly 5,000 yards and has a plethora of skilled players around him such as Waller, Josh Jacobs and Hunter Renfrow . Overall, he doesn't take the opportunity to coach this team for granted and expects to capitalize on it to the fullest.
"I grew up a Raider. My father and my mom, my brother, if you ask them what organization was most impactful during our time as a family, they probably would say the Raiders organization. ... This city has been unbelievable, people have been great, and you can really feel the energy of people here wanting the Raiders to be a great top-notch team for a long time, and it's a very exciting time."