Former NFL coach Dick Vermeil tells you how to gameplan holiday shopping

Unlike sandlot football tradition, you don’t draw up holiday-shopping plays in the dirt.

So says Dick Vermeil, the retired NFL coach who led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl title in 2000 and recommends holiday shoppers use the equivalent of a well formulated football playbook.

Black Friday, meet Dick Vermeil’s Super Bowl-tested X’s and O’s.

“I’d have a plan in regards to how I want to approach each person that I’m thinking of gifting, and then I would have a plan as to where I would go — number one, number two, number three ranking as to who would most likely carry the product I’m looking for,’’ Vermeil told USA TODAY Sports. “And then I would go all at once. …Play the game, you know?

“It’s like a game to get it over with.’’

Confession: Vermeil, now retired, has spent a whole lot more time coaching football than he has shopping. He said his wife did most of the shopping when he was coaching because he was busying preparing his teams.

Still, Vermeil said, he figures the same organizational skills that helped him amass a record of 120-109 during 15 years as an NFL head coach and during stops in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Kansas City would translate into effective holiday shopping.

But at the age of 82 and as a longtime stakeholder in Vermeil Wines, Vermeil said holiday shopping is rather simple.

“Now I go with the wine,’’ he said. “It’s automatic.’’

During the holidays, Vermeil said, he gives out up to 14 cases of wine as gifts. But he knows the finest bottle or red or white can’t match the most memorable holiday gifts.

His favorite gift ever?

“Wow, that’s tough,’’ he said. “First I’m 82, so I’ve got a lot of years to cover. I think when I was about 13 years old my parents gave me a 20-gauge Mossberg old-fashioned shotgun, gave one to my brother and I. …

“As I think back, that was a very stimulating present that I never forgot. In fact, I still have it.’’

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