The 2009 NFL season represents an odd journey for Bill Belichick. From the controversy of 4th and 2 to Randy Moss “dogging it”, he’s had a few hurdles to clear. However, none of that stops him from becoming the fifth inductee to the JMRA Hall of Fame.
Combining his work as defensive coordinator with the New York Giants and as the head coach of New England, Belichick is the proud owner of five Super Bowl rings. Overall, the man who resigned as the “HC of the NYJ”, has appeared in a grand total of seven Super Bowls as an assistant and head coach.
The football newbies out there may only know Belichick from his days as the head coach of the New England Patriots. Yet, his roots go far deeper. As a defensive coordinator with the Giants, he helped Big Blue diffuse two of the great offenses in NFL history -in consecutive weeks no less- during the 1990 postseason.
First, his defense held the defending two-time world champion 49ers to just one touchdown in the team’s 15-13 upset win in the NFC title game. The following week, the Giants limited Buffalo’s epic no-huddle offense in New York’s 20-19 victory in Super Bowl XXV.
Belichick’s team exuded a physical philosophy of defensive football that made the league’s greatest offensive attacks wilt in the game’s biggest moments. His Patriots shut down the “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI; defeated the league’s co-MVPs in Steve McNair and Peyton Manning in consecutive weeks in ’03; and then stopped cold Manning’s Colts the next season in postseason once more.
In fact, the postseason losses suffered by the Rams and Colts forced complaints, most notably from Colts bigwig Bill Polian, over New England’s aggressive secondary play. Soon after the ’03 AFC title game against Indy, the league reinforced its policies against illegal contact, which in turn has made the league’s passing totals skyrocket but that’s another story.
The easy counter to any pro-Belichick statement is Spygate. However, I find that to be nothing more than fool’s gold. Surely, he and the Pats were punished. However, if you think that is the first time teams have used controversial means to prepare for games, you’re not with it.
Perhaps, most importantly of the Spygate mess, his team managed to finish that regular season 16-0. Only a miracle play in Super Bowl XLII prevented Belichick’s Patriots from ridding us of the yearly debauchery of the ’72 Dolphins.
Anyhow, Belichick represents one of the great defensive masterminds of this generation…or any other for that matter.
Now, we present great moments in Belichick.
1. 1986 NFC Championship (note the 7:04 mark)
2. 1990 NFC Championship
3. 2003 AFC Championship
4. 2004 AFC Divisional Playoffs
5. The Spygate Season