The Sporting News sent out midseason poll questions to NFL players on various topics, from Commissar Goodell to who the top rookie is thus far. Two questions that caught my eye were, “Which coach would you least like to play for?,” and, “Which coach (other than your own) would you most like to play for?” In both questions, players were not allowed to vote for their own coaches. Amazingly, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shows up in third place on both lists.
The lists included quotes from players as well as to why they voted the way they did.
From the “least like to play for” list, an unnamed NFC defensive player had the following to say about Belichick:
“Bill Belichick. People speak bad of him. He’s just a different type of coach. He’s not understanding. He’s not a players’ coach.”
From the “most like to play for” list, Cowboys TE Jason Witten explains why he voted for Belichick:
“Being a fan of the game, you respect what Bill Belichick has done. You would be fortunate to play for a guy like that. Anybody who has had the success that he has had … as a player, you would love to soak up that knowledge.”
It would be interesting to know who the unnamed NFC defensive player was. Was it a former Patriot? Lists like these, when voted on by players, can be telling. They represent the general feeling towards, in this case, coaches throughout the league. Most players have not played for Belichick that voted in these polls, so we can see the general perception of the Patriots’ head guy. It seems as though you either love him or you hate him. One question that comes to mind is whether this affects the team’s ability to attract free agents.