Christopher Stephen Landry – Signature

Radios crackle with football chatter this time of year, much of it by fans too worked up to see what they’re missing or to realize how much they just don’t know.

Chris Landry strives to be a voice of reason amid that din. Nowhere in his Cajun twang will you hear overt emotion or indulgent opinion. His commentary, carried nationally on Fox Sports Radio and on several local and regional shows, is informed by scrupulous study and a career of learning from some of the game’s modern legends.

His first boss was Bill Arnsparger, the former LSU coach credited with inventing the 3-4 defense. Landry worked for the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick, who taught him that it’s not the stars, but rather the 47th, 48th and 49th guys on the roster who can win a championship. A fellow Browns assistant was Nick Saban, with whom Landry shares a devotion to details and process. So much so, Landry concedes, that he couldn’t enjoy success. “A win was merely a relief, but a loss was like dying a slow, agonizing death.”

Landry also once ran the NFL’s scouting combine, and he was the Tennessee Titans’ director of scouting when they reached the 1999 Super Bowl, losing by excruciating inches to the St. Louis Rams.

When Landry’s father Henry was stricken with Alzheimer’s, the son returned home from Tennessee to help his mother Earline care for him until his death in 2004.

Landry managed to keep working by squeezing the tools of his trade into his Baton Rouge home office. Surrounded by shelves packed with files and cabinets full of game videos, he watches up to 10 games at a time during football season. Then he spends hours more poring over stats and grading wide-angle “coach’s tapes.”

Today, he works with a variety of teams. And in countless, solitary hours of study, he finds the joy that eluded him on the sidelines—brief stretches of well-designed plays and schemes, executed perfectly.

“That,” Landry says, “is what I love.”