January 30, 2017
By Justin Lasher
He is the man, the myth, the legend. He is an enigma like no other. He is Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots. Belichick is the often boring, short-answered, slightly irritated, hoodie-wearing man, who is creative, interesting, consistent, and leaving us wanting more head coach of a team who arguably has had the greatest stretch of any team in NFL history. Belichick has been calling the shots for the Patriots for 17 years and it seems like every decision he has made has turned to gold.
Bill Belichick has had an all-time, legendary, type career in New England. If the Patriots are victorious in Super Bowl LI, Belichick passes the legendary, Chuck Noll, for all-time Super Bowl wins with five. Belichick has a career record of 201-71 in New England, good for a .739 win percentage. His teams have been just as good in the playoffs, going 24-9 for a .727 win percentage. Outside of his first season in New England, in 2000, when his Patriots squad went 5-11, Belichick has never had a losing season. In fact, that 2000 season aside, Belichick has only not won ten or more games once. His 2002 Patriots went 9-7.
Bill Belichick seems to do his best work coaching when his teams are facing the most adversity. This season is no different, and in fact, may be his best job yet. The 2016-2017 Patriots team has faced it’s share of adversity. It all started in March, before the season even began, when Belichick and company decided to trade, in my opinion, its best defensive player, Chandler Jones to Arizona. Then came the court’s ruling to uphold Tom Brady’s four game suspension for Deflategate. Many of us may have forgotten that Rob Ninkovich was also suspended four games, but his was for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Next up was on October 31, they Patriots decided to trade away possibly, it’s best linebacker and a defensive leader, in Jamie Collins. Then, in week 11, Belichick made the call to bench defensive starter Jabaal Sheard. Finally, came the Rob Gronkowski news, that he would miss the rest of the year due to injury. All of this would have crippled any other organization, however with Belichick steering the ship, it may have made the Patriots better. Most of us would have excused the Patriots if they slipped up a bit, and lets say, went 11-5 or 10-6. Instead, they go 14-2 during the regular season, and have their best season since 2010, when they also went 14-2. They find themselves knocking on the door of yet another Super Bowl ring.
As much as it pains me to say, Bill Belichick, is a mastermind like no other. Regardless of the result of this game, Belichick is already the GOAT. The Patriots clearly will have the advantage on the sidelines in Sunday’s big game.