Read Patriot Reign Online

Authors: Michael Holley

Patriot Reign

BOOK: Patriot Reign
10.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

PATRIOT
REIGN

Bill Belichick, the Coaches,
and the Players
Who Built a Champion

Michael Holley

For Marilyn Holley, who always
finds gems in the clutter

CONTENTS

E-Book Extra:
Bill Belichick: Snapshots and Stats

E-BOOK EXTRA
BILL BELICHICK:
SNAPSHOTS AND STATS

Bill
Belichick
believes that his former boss,
Bill Parcells
, was not focused during his one trip to the Super Bowl with the Patriots in
1997. Belichick says that Parcells’ approach was “inappropriate” and that
Parcells was entertaining offers from other teams.

There was a tense behind-the-scenes drama going on between
Belichick,
Drew Bledsoe
and, to a degree, offensive
coordinator
Charlie Weis
. This was in 2001, when Bledsoe lost his
job to Tom Brady. The quarterback blamed the coach, and the coach said the
hostility was tangible. “There was discomfort in the room,” Belichick
said.

A Houston gunman, caught on the players’ floor of the
Carolina Panthers hotel prior to Super Bowl XXXVIII, could have become the
biggest story of Super Bowl Week. When Belichick found out about the story
three days before the game, he told his team not to worry.
He anticipated the story becoming a huge media distraction, but it never broke.
The Houston police department says the investigation remains active and has
denied access to the police report.

Patriots owner
Robert
Kraft
and his son, Jonathan, always knew they wanted to hire Belichick,
but when it appeared that they would not be able to spring him from his
contract with the New York Jets in 2000, they began to look elsewhere. Their
leading candidate was never mentioned in the paper—it was
Butch
Davis
, then coach of the University of Miami and now head coach of the
Cleveland Browns.

Late in the 2002 season, Belichick had much more
important things than football on his mind. Prior to a Monday night game with
Tennessee, he traveled to a small town named Monterey to visit his cousin for
the last time.
Jean Freeman
was terminally ill—she had pancreatic
cancer—and the last conversation between the cousins showed a side of Belichick
that few people have ever seen.

One of the biggest upsets in
sports history, the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVI win over the St. Louis Rams,
began to take shape five days before the game. That’s when Belichick, his top
adviser (
Ernie Adams
) and defensive coordinator
Romeo
Crennel
crafted a plan to deconstruct the Rams, a plan which began with
the unconventional decision to pressure the running back rather than the
quarterback and ended with
Adam Vinatieri
’s 48-yard field goal to
win it.

There is a manual that explicitly describes the Patriots’
type of player. In it, the reader is introduced to the Patriots scouting
system. We learn the difference between, for example, a
“Dirty Starter” and a “Make It-Plus” player. The manual was tweaked
when
Scott Pioli
, Ernie Adams, and Belichick arrived in New England
in 2000. The irony is that the description they wrote for quarterbacks—prior to
the arrival of
Tom Brady
—fits Brady, Pioli says, “to a T.”

In addition to expertly analyzing other teams during the week, the
Patriots’ coaching staff is skilled at breaking down their own team. They hold
evaluation meetings in which every player on the roster has his strengths and
weaknesses analyzed in a detailed report. Some players enjoy hearing what their
coaches think of them. Others, such as one tackle who was called “the ultimate
coach- killer,” did not.

Belichick held a grudge against ESPN and
NFL analyst
Tom Jackson
for most of the 2003 season. He privately
fumed over Jackson’s September comment that the Patriots “hate their coach.”
Belichick waited for a legitimate Jackson apology and, when it never came, he
resented the network for enabling such commentary, which he deemed
irresponsible. After the Patriots win over the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII,
Belichick agreed to do an interview with his longtime friend, ESPN’s
Chris
Berman
. Jackson was not part of the interview, and the two men exchanged
words before it began.

NFL Stats

Overall Record 82-70

Regular Season 75-69

Postseason 7-1

Overall with New England 45-25

Super Bowl Titles 4 (1986, 1990, 2001, 2003)

Conference Titles 5 (1986, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2003)

Division Titles 9 (1975, 1978, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003)

 

YEAR

2003

TEAM

New England Patriots

G

16

W

14

L

2

T

0

Pct

.875

PostW

3

PostL

0

YEAR

2002

TEAM

New England Patriots

G

16

W

9

L

7

T

0

Pct

.563

PostW


PostL


YEAR

2001

TEAM

New England Patriots

G

16

W

11

L

5

T

0

Pct

.688

PostW

3

PostL

0

YEAR

2000

TEAM

New England Patriots

G

16

W

5

L

11

T

0

Pct

.313

PostW


PostL


YEAR

1995

TEAM

Cleveland Browns

G

16

W

5

L

11

T

0

Pct

.313

PostW


PostL


YEAR

1994

TEAM

Cleveland Browns

G

16

W

11

L

5

T

0

Pct

.688

PostW

1

PostL

1

YEAR

1993

TEAM

Cleveland Browns

G

16

W

7

L

9

T

0

Pct

.438

PostW


PostL


YEAR

1992

TEAM

Cleveland Browns

G

16

W

7

L

9

T

0

Pct

.438

PostW


PostL


YEAR

1991

TEAM

Cleveland Browns

G

16

W

6

L

10

T

0

Pct

.375

PostW


PostL


YEAR

CARRER

TEAM

9 years

G

144

W

75

L

69

T

0

Pct

.521

PostW

7

PostL

1

BOOK: Patriot Reign
10.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Devil's Blessing by Hernandez, Tony
Rebel by Mike Resnick
Witch Hunt by SM Reine
Rules of Engagement by Tawny Weber
Unforgettable by Reynolds, Abby