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The Legacy of Bill Belichick

Recently I had the opportunity to watch the Tom Brady Roast on Netflix. As part of the roast insults and zingers flew about the room aimed towards Brady himself and others in attendance. Anyone with a sense of humor laughed throughout the Netflix comedy special. One part of the special was a man not at all known for his sense of humor. Bill Belichick did a comedy monologue roasting his ex-quarterback. It was funny. Most likely Belichick had his jokes written for him. But he did smile throughout the night. It made me remember when and where he started his NFL Head Coaching career.

In 1991 the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick was hired as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns. He brought with him the coaching style of his mentor Bill Parcells. Also, he hired as his defensive coordinator a young unknown defensive assistant coach named Nick Saban. With the Parcells coaching style, he also emulated Parcells style in dealing with the local media. To say he was difficult to interview by the Cleveland sports media at the time would be an understatement. It didn’t seem fair to the local reporters trying to do their job. The unfairness was not just on the media. They way Bill Belichick’s tenure ended in Cleveland was equally unfair.

In November of 1995, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced the team’s relocation to Baltimore Maryland. This was done when the Cleveland Browns were tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 1st place in the old AFC Central Division. Both teams had 4-4 records. After the news of the team’s move broke, the Browns finished the 1995 season at 5-11. The won only one game after the relocation story went public. And during this head coach Bill Belichick had to coach his team while dealing with an unprecedented distraction. He was also promised to keep his job in Baltimore by the owner. He was fired in February of 1996. This was after the agreement was made by the City of Cleveland and Art Modell to leave the team’s name, history, and colors in Cleveland. This allowed Modell to be released of his lease with the city. And the Baltimore Ravens were born. But this was only a mere setback for Belichick.

Four years later in 2000, Bill Belichick was hired as the new head coach of the New England Patriots.  And in his first draft with the team, he picked Michigan quarterback Tom Brady with 199th overall pick. The Brady Belichick tandem went to win 6 Super Bowl Championships in 19 years. Bill Belichick’s first ballot Hall of Fame coaching record is 333-178. Belichick attributed what he learned from the 1995 Cleveland experience as to what made him the coach he became in New England. Bill Belichick’s legacy will be remembered most by his accomplishments with the Patriots. But what made him was his setback in Cleveland. An individual might feel as if they are being punished with their circumstances in their life. Maybe their circumstances are a life lesson, and this is the only wat learn it?  And that life lesson is the legacy of Bill Belichick.


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