In lieu of attempting to hand out game balls to the efforts of back-up players against a team that didn’t even appear to be trying for most of the game, I’ve decided that a game ball needs to go to Bill Belichick for his season long efforts.
We sometimes forget how great a coach he really is. At least I do, and that is easy to do since we just see him a couple times a game when the announcers are talking about him. This Patriots team was predicted to be 9-7, maybe 8-8 or maybe 10-6 by many football pundits before the season began. The season started with the blowout win over the Bengals but still. most didn’t believe. This is probably because the very young defense was torched in the second half of that game. Belichick knew what he had in the young defense, however. The story of 2010 began all the way back in 2008. 2008? I know you’re wondering how on earth I’ve gone back that far in time. Well, Bill Belichick took a trip to visit his friend in Gainesville Florida. That’s how 2010 came to be.
Belichick wanted to check out what the Florida Gators had to offer. As it turned out, on draft day in 2010, Belichick took 3 Florida Gators, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez, that he had his eye on when he attended practice in March 2008. Those three players, along with Devin McCourty and Rob Gronkowski, have made major contributions this season in what turned out to be a 14-2 Patriots team.
Belichick’s 2010 draft will probably go down as one of the top two drafts of his coaching career. The other great draft was the 2003 draft with Asante Samuel, Ty Warren, Eugene Wilson, Dan Klecko, Dan Koppen and Tully Banta-Cain. While many pundits predicted that this team was not going to make the playoffs or might be a 6th seeded wild-card team, Belichick was confident in what he had just picked up in the draft. When he drafted Devin McCourty, I remember saying to myself, who? He’s been great this year. Belichick has clearly worked with him all year long and the entire defense improved greatly throughout the season due in large part to the help from the 2010 rookie class. Belichick hand selected integral parts of this team almost three years ago.
Bill Belichick is the only coach in the NFL without a defensive coordinator or an offensive coordinator. He is clearly the best coach of his generation and the best coach in the NFL today. He often doesn’t get the credit he deserves, so today the game ball goes to him.