Review of ‘Bill Belichick: A Football Life’


The NFL Network aired “Bill Belichick: A Football Life” earlier tonight, and it certainly lived up to the hype. For those that have always wondered what it’s like in the meeting rooms, on the sidelines, before the game, in the game, after the game, it was all in the program. You got to not only see the football side of Bill Belichick, but also a bit of his personal side. From fishing on his boat named “V Rings” in Nantucket to playing catch with his son Brian, you really got to see a side of Belichick never hinted at in any of his drab, dry, at times uninformative press conferences. For fans of the Patriots, they most certainly got a higher appreciation and a greater knowledge of the greatest coach in Patriots, and possibly NFL, history.

Here are some tidbits that jumped out to me from the program. **SPOILER ALERT** If you have yet to see the program and are planning on viewing it, read no further!

  • Jon Bon Jovi asked Belichick about Rex Ryan (this was filmed prior to Rex’s first season with the Jets), calling him a, “character.” Belichick just replied that he thinks that the Jets players “will play hard” for Ryan.
  • The involvement of Belichick’s son Brian was very interesting. During camp, Bill explained to his son why he puts the team through different situations, which is to get the players and the coaches thinking the same thing when that situation comes up. Brian also took notes for his father during preseason games when certain situations and observations came up. It got me to thinking: Is Brian going to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and become a football coach?
  • The trading of Richard Seymour appeared to be a move that was necessary to get Vince Wilfork signed long-term. When the trade was completed, a meeting between Robert and Jonathon Kraft, Belichick, Floyd Reese, and the rest of the personnel team occurred to discuss getting Wilfork signed.
  • Contrary to the belief doesn’t want to see celebrating after big plays, a look into a film session prior to the season opener against Buffalo suggested otherwise. He showed clips from the previous year of players making big plays and nobody on the team celebrating and congratulating them. In one clip where it showed a large group of players congratulating a player on scoring a touchdown, Belichick noted that it looked like a team that was there to play.
  • Belichick took the cameras on a tour of the old Giants Stadium before what would be his final game in that stadium against the Jets. He got visibly choked up recalling all of the hours and hard work he spent there trying to get established as a coach and kick start his coaching career.
  • Speaking of that game against the Jets, in a coaches meeting prior to the game, Belichick laid out specific situations, such as stopping seam passes to the #2 receiver and watching Revis versus Moss, that would result in a loss for the team. Those exact situations (shown by game film) played out in the game. It was amazing to see Belichick call what would happen before the game.
  • Patriots fans know that Belichick loves Ravens safety Ed Reed, and that came through again in a clip of a meeting between Bill and Tom Brady. You could see how much significance they placed on Reed prior to playing the Ravens.
  • In a clip from the game against the Ravens, Derrick Mason walks near the Patriots’ sideline after a catch and trash talks. Belichick cussed him out, telling him to, “Shut the $#%^ up” and, “Look at the scoreboard.”
  • Prior to the game against Denver during Josh McDaniels’ first season as head coach, he and Belichick agreed on their pre-game handshake to be it and just waive after the game.

As great as this program was, Part Two looks like it could be even better. We’ll get to see what happened on the sidelines during the Colts game that year, which featured the infamous, “4th-and-short” call that was debated virtually the rest of the season. Part Two airs next Thursday on NFL Network.