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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Where Does Bill Belichick Rank On The All Time Coaching List?

Ask New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft who the greatest NFL coach of all time is, and you know he is going to sound as biased as a mother whose son was just drafted in the NFL.

Asked on WBZ if Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the best ever, Kraft said they are and added that it’s “Not even close”

Kraft noted that Brady and Belichick have won four Super Bowls together during an era when the NFL is structured for parity, making it especially difficult to stay on top.

“Think about it: They’re functioning in the age of the salary cap and free agency,” Kraft said. “It’s a real team effort, but you can’t win consistently if you don’t have a good coach and a good quarterback and we just happen to have the best in each category.”

There’s certainly a strong case to be made that the Patriots are the NFL’s greatest dynasty, although that doesn’t necessarily mean Belichick and Brady are the best coach and quarterback ever. Those in Beantown will offer to fight you over that kind of question – as a town that has an affinity for hating the Yankees and New York Jets is engrained in the minds of children as they come out of the womb. The fact is, if there was no Bill Belichick, there would be no Tom Brady and if there was no Tom Brady, Bill Belichick may not have the legacy he enjoys today. Few coaches and quarterbacks have enjoyed the kind of relationship/success as these two and are interconnected like a game of Cat’s Cradle.

And to think “Captain Hoodie” started as a head coach in Cleveland, where all good head coaches drown in obscurity.

Not Belichick, who following his firing in 1995, he did not serve as a head coach again until 2000. Following a brief tenure with the New York Jets, he became head coach of the New England Patriots. Since then, Belichick has coached the Patriots to six Super Bowl appearances: victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, and XLIX, and losses in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons. Belichick is the NFL's longest-tenured active head coach and currently is fifth in regular season coaching wins in the NFL at 211, and first in playoff coaching wins with 22.

With those kinds of numbers, his demeanor and his penchant for success, Bill Parcells is smiling from ear to ear, knowing he has done well passing on his evil genius to both Belichick and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.

Teams have a way of becoming representative of their coaches. The fiery energy of a Pete Carroll. The slow reserve of a Mike McCarthy. The fly under the radar approach of Belichick. If wins and losses are how you define a coaching career, then he is certainly part of the answer to being one of the best ever. Where he ranks is undefinable. He has as many wins as Chuck Noll and has pedigree to be listed among the Shula’s and Gibbs’ and Walsh’s of the conversation. His demeanor and style is never without controversy and his gruff demeanor reminds many of a throwback era to Tom Landry, George Halas and at times, Hank Stramm.

You cannot truly put a definite score on his talents, his wins or his ability to get the best out of the players who have played for him and he certainly has done more with much less than those who coached before him. What you can say is he wins, and in football – those things are what matters. Where is his place in history? Belichick probably does not care. He is more worried about winning playoff games and Super Bowls. The extraneous stuff – that is left to those that love him, hate and can’t figure him out. But what they all do, as they should with someone who has won four Super Bowl rings, is respect him. 


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