Over at SI.com, they are doing a series called “The MMQB 100” in which the 100 most influential people in the NFL are ranked. Today, Greg A. Bedard listed New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick at No. 4. In this article, I’m going to examine a selection of quotes from Bedard and give my take.
"Belichick’s greatness resides in the remarkable consistency of his teams in an era of constant turnover—on the roster, the coaching staff and in the front office."
Well put, Bedard. In the NFL, it is extremely difficult to start a team from scratch every year—just ask fans of the Cleveland Browns or any other perennial cellar-dwelling team. For example, former offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia’s longevity with the team was a major aid to Belichick throughout his tenure, and even as a retiree, Scarnecchia still helps in the pre-draft process to this day, bringing Florida State studs Bryan Stork and Tre’ Jackson into the fold in recent years.
"And of the 11 teams to post at least 10 consecutive winning seasons since 1920, the Patriots are the only team to do it in the salary cap era."
Chuck Noll. Don Shula. Vince Lombardi. Joe Gibbs. Those are some great NFL coaches that earned their Super Bowl rings before the salary cap became a thing. Championships are won in February, but these days, the plants of greatness are seeded in the spring when tough personnel decisions and cost-cutting maneuvers have to be made.
"No one navigates a minefield better than Belichick."
Bedard plucks this quote in the headline of the article as well as the body, indicating that this is more or less his thesis statement and reasoning for ranking Belichick as the fourth-most influential person in the NFL. And it’s true; handling adversity is a strength of Belichick’s. Just look at the shape the Patriots were in after their 2-2 start to 2014, with everyone outside of New England writing Belichick’s Patriots off.
"Expect the Patriots to have an intense focus similar to the reaction after Spygate in 2007. That season, they took out their frustration on the rest of the league with blowouts and a focus on perfection (16-0 regular season)."
Many of us at Musket Fire have already said this, but I’ll say it again: Deflategate and all the chaos it has created will end up benefitting the Patriots. Right now, Belichick is hatching a plan to run train on the NFL, just like the Patriots did in 2007. The debate will rage on as to whether Tom Brady has helped Belichick, or visa versa, but know this: both legends perform better when angered.