New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will go down as one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time. His accomplishments include multiple Super Bowl championships, three AP NFL Coach of the Year Awards and being named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Belichick has a regular season winning percentage in the high .600s and an even better postseason record.
Football is in his blood as his father Steve was also a coach and even played for the Detroit Lions in 1941. Bill has been coaching in the NFL for more than 40 years and is the only NFL coach in history to win three Super Bowls in four years. Even though he may go down as the best of all time, there are still plenty of things he wants you to forget. The coach has been involved in a number of scandals and controversies over the years and hasn’t always been as much of a winner as he is now.
This scandal occurred during the 2015 AFC Championship Game in which the New England Patriots crushed the Indianapolis Colts 45 to 7. This football tampering scandal was the talk of the sports world for several months and even led to a four game suspension for Tom Brady a year later than originally planned. Belichick claimed he didn’t know anything about balls being under-inflated and Brady and the ball boys seemed to take most of the blame. In fact the Wells Report stated that Belichick and other coaching staff were involved in the situation, but it was still his team. Many were calling for him to be suspended like Saints coach Sean Payton was for Bountygate. Even if he didn’t know anything, coach Belichick is responsible for the way his team behaves and making sure they do everything within the rules.
14 It Took Him A Long Time To Get A Head Coaching Job
It seems like Belichick has been a head coach forever, but it actually took him quite a while to get to where he is today. He started way back in 1975 as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts. He then joined the Detroit Lions in 1976 as an assistant special teams coach. Belichick then joined the Detroit Lions as receivers coach in 1977 and served as the assistant special teams coach and defensive assistant for the Denver Broncos in 1978. He held the same positions for the New York Giants in 1979 and finally got a long term gig as the linebackers coach and special teams coach for the Giants from 1980 to 1984. He was promoted to defensive coordinator for the G-Men from 1985 to 1990 before finally getting his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns in 1991.
Long before Deflategate was Spygate which was a videotaping controversy in which a video assistant for the Patriots was caught taping defensive signals of the New York Jets from the sidelines. This went against league rules and Jets coach Eric Mangini tipped off the league about his former team. The NFL fined Bill Belichick $500,000 which was the largest fine ever for a coach. In addition the team was fined $250,000 which was only half as much as the head coach. The Patriots also lost their first round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Belichick took full responsibility and went on to lead his team to a 16-0 regular season and win the NFL Coach of the Year Award, although the team lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
12 He Proposed Changing The Extra Point Rule
In 2014 coach Bill Belichick proposed a rule change that would bring back the extra point to the 25 yard line to make it more difficult and a 43 yard kick. Belichick complained that the extra point was a waste of time and that is was made 99% of the time. With one of the most accurate kickers in the league in Stephen Gostkowski, it was surprising to hear Belichick propose this rule. Some NFL reporters were happy to point out that the rule cost the Patriots in the 2016 AFC Championship Game when they lost to the Denver Broncos who went on to win the Super Bowl. Gostkowski missed the extra point on their first touchdown and the Patriots ended up losing the game 20-18.
11 He Cheated On His Wife
Coach Belichick was married to Debby Clarke from 1977 to 2006. The couple had three children named Amanda, Brian, and Stephen. Before Bill and Debby officially divorced they separated in 2004. Reports came out that the coach was seeing Sharon Shenocca who was a former receptionist for the New York Giants. He was also seen several times with a woman named Linda Holliday during the week of Super Bowl XLII in Arizona in 2008. Holliday is 11 years younger than Belichick and previously competed for Miss Arkansas USA and owned a boutique and works for Style Boston. She is also the Executive Director for his The Bill Belichick Foundation. She also has twin daughters who run a fashion blog, who are named Ashley and Katie Hess.
10 He Had A Losing Record In Cleveland
During his five full seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995, Bill Belichick only had one winning season. His overall record was 36 – 44 and he had losing seasons four out of five years. Belichick’s Browns went 6 – 10 in 1991, 7 – 9 in 1992, and 7 – 9 in 1993, finished third in the AFC Central each year. In 1994 he went 11 -5 and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Game and in the AFC Central. Things looked promising but the Browns went 5 – 11 in his last year in 1995 and finished fourth in their division. During that time it was announced by team owner Art Modell that the team was moving to Baltimore and would become the Baltimore Ravens.
9 He Was The Captain Of His College Lacrosse Team
Coach Belichick doesn’t seem very athletic on the sidelines in his signature hoodie, but in his younger days he was actually quite the athlete. He seems to be a very private person and may be embarrassed that he was once a top athlete at Wesleyan University. Belichick played college football as well as lacrosse and squash. In fact he was the captain of his lacrosse team during his senior year. His love of lacrosse actually led to him being interested in wide receiver Chris Hogan. Belichick was asked to pick lacrosse positions for his Patriots players and said that Tom Brady would be a goalie because he “can’t run” and “can’t dodge.” His Bill Belichick Foundation has been involved with lacrosse and raised money for kids.
8 He Was The Jets' Head Coach Twice Without Coaching A Game
Bill Belichick actually was the head coach of the New York Jets two different times without even coaching a game. After he was fired by the Browns he was the assistant head coach and defensive backs coach for the Patriots in 1996 under Bill Parcells. The Jets and Patriots were in negotiations for Parcells but in that time Belichick was named the interim head coach of the Jets. Less than a week later Parcells joined the Jets and Belichick was their assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. After Parcells resigned in 1999 Belichick was introduced as head coach but the next day he resigned and took the job as head coach of the Patriots instead. He pretty much screwed over the Jets to go to another team and that only added to the division rivalry between the teams.
7 He Grabbed A Referee And Was Fined Heavily
Back in 2012 when the NFL was using replacement officials, Patriots coach Bill Belichick grabbed one of them by the arm at the end of a Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens when the Pats lost thanks to a last minute field goal. He was fined $50,000 which was one of the biggest fines ever given to a coach. Washington Redskins’ offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was also fined $25,000 for a similar offense at the same time. He later said that “it was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened. I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident”. If that wasn’t bad enough he was fined 10 times as much, $500,000 for Spygate which was the largest fine ever for a coach in the history of the NFL.
6 He Falsifies Injury Reports
Football fans who play fantasy football know that you can never depend on the New England Patriots to provide accurate information on their weekly injury reports. They frequently put guys on the list that are barely even hurt and use the list as a way of not giving accurate information to their opponents so they can’t game plan correctly. Former Patriots players Brandon Spikes and Aqib Talib both claimed that the team gave them inaccurate injury designations. Spikes even confirmed that at one time he was put on IR because he was late to practice. Talib said his quad injury was reported as a hip injury by the team and there have been reports of the league office looking into these possible deceptive practices by Belichick.
5 He Uses Deceptive Formations
In a playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens following the 2014 season, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh became visibly upset when he claimed Belichick’s Patriots used illegal and deceptive practices regarding a formation. In this particular formation the team sent out only four offensive linemen three separate times. Harbaugh said that this was “not something that anybody has ever done before. They’re an illegal type of thing.” The Patriots used a loophole where the fifth player lined up was a running back who was ineligible but this was still confusing to their opponents. Patriots fans thought the play was genius but Ravens fans claimed it was illegal. Belichick seems to be a master of the grey areas and bending but not breaking the rules when he can get away with it.
4 He Was Fired By The Cleveland Browns
After Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns for five seasons he was fired by the team after the 1995 season. At that time things didn’t look very good for the guy because he finally got his first head coaching job and blew it. Only one of his five seasons was considered a success and he had his worst season in 1995, going 5 – 11 before getting released. At the time the Browns weren’t a good team, so getting fired from that organization was even worse. Things ended up working out for both parties as Belichick spend time as an assistant in New England and New York (Jets) before getting his current job as head coach of the Patriots in 2000. The Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens and won the Super Bowl in 2001.
3 He Has Lost Multiple Super Bowls
Even though Bill Belichick is one of the most successful NFL coaches of all time and has won a handful of Super Bowls, he has also lost his fair share. As the head coach of the Patriots, he won his team’s first three Super Bowls against the Rams, Panthers, and Eagles. After that he went into a little slump, losing to the New York Giants in 2008 and the Giants again in 2012. He also won two Super Bowls under Bill Parcells with the New York Giants but also lost another one under Parcells in New England against the Green Bay Packers in 1997. Belichick would probably say that “you can’t win ‘em all”, although he probably really thinks that he should have won them all.
2 He Is The Longest Tenured Active Head Coach... Which Means He’s Old
Since becoming the New England Patriots head coach in 2000, coach Belichick is the longest tenured head coach at 17 years as of January 2017. That means he is no spring chicken, as he will turn 65 in April 2017 and was born in 1952. Second place on that list is Marvin Lewis who has been with the Cincinnati Bengals since January 2003. If you count his total years as head coach, Belichick barely makes the Top 10 of longest tenured head coaches of all time. The leader on that list is George Halas who coached for an amazing 40 years. In 2016 coach Belichick added a “new addition to the depth chart” by welcoming his first grandchild when his daughter in law had a baby girl named Blakely Rose.
1 He Isn’t Very Loyal To His Players Except Tom Brady
Even though it seems like coach Belichick and his quarterback Tom Brady are joined at the hip, he really hasn’t been very loyal to other players over the years. If you look at the Patriots roster there is a high level or turnover every year, especially when it comes to running backs and wide receivers. Just when you think a player is key to New England’s success, Belichick cuts them or trades them away often for next to nothing. Big name players they have traded away include Jamie Collins, Logan Mankins, Randy Moss, Chandler Jones, Richard Seymour, Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel, and Deion Branch among others. Even though players come and go, Belichick’s system produces teams that constantly win. If he sticks around after Brady retires it will be interesting to see the results.