Bill Belichick…et al

Bill Belichick…et al
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Being a Dolphin fan, I am about to step into a realm I really don’t have any business going into. But to be frank, I’m sick of the endless Tannehill/Moore debate (and FYI, Moore’s the better bargain) and would like to deflect the conversation to something different.


Yesterday, I was listening to one of the local talking heads on the radio talk about the genius of Bill Belichick, and it started me thinking. Is BB really a great coach who can spot talented assistants who have a lot to bring to the Patriot table, thus creating the Patriot dynasty? My first inclination would be a resounding yes! BB must have a fantastic eye to find those diamond in the rough coaches and then develop them into top tier coaches.  It seems every off season NFL team with vacancies are trying to hire away a coach from the Patriot organization. After all, the Patriots are a consistent winning organization, so why not go and get one of their coaches to bring their winning ways to your team?


First, let’s throw out all the cheating scandals and let’s take a look at BB’s coaching tree. The following coaches have had the privilege to work under BB and later became head coaches:

Romeo Crennel –Browns

Al Groh – Jets

Josh McDaniels – Broncos

Eric Mangini – Jets

Nick Saban – Dolphins (just threw up in my mouth a little)

Jim Schwartz – Lions

Bill O’Brien – Texans


There have been other coaches to have moved on to have varying levels of success in the college ranks, but let’s just stick with the ones at the NFL level.


Of all the coaches listed above, none have really had any sustained success (as opposed to longevity) in the NFL. One would think that a few would have had a successful career on their own, yet there really is nothing. Yes success is relative, but none of these coaches has even come close to sniffing a Super Bowl victory (or consecutive winning seasons for that matter).


One consistent thing that BB will do is give his coaches credit for the overall success of the team. So why do we not see that success translated when these coaches move on? If these guys are the geniuses that the organization (and BB) claims, you would think that success would follow them.


My theory on this is this…BB is truly a top caliber coach with a current success rate that is unmatched. Everybody else is just a bit player in the organization. BB is the brains of the organization and the other coaches are merely people to carry out BB’s wishes. BB has likely developed a damn good system that the rest of the NFL has yet to crack. Unfortunately the other coaches don’t seem to be good enough or have the knowledge to build a successful franchise on their own. He has been successful hiring coaches that will fit into a mold that is convenient for BB. He needs coaches to carry out his system, rather than be innovators themselves. The payoff is that BB will give credit to his supporting staff as payment, but in reality, it is likely that BB just doesn’t care about getting the credit himself. This seems to be a one man show when it comes to coaching and innovation. The assistant coaches are just people to carry out his decisions.


So why are his assistants such valuable and desired commodities for the other teams?

My guess is that all of these GM’s have been time and again fooled and are hoping they too can catch lightning in a bottle and hook the next Belichick by stealing his staff. Thus far, they have all been sadly mistaken and disappointed. One could argue player quality and impatience of owners, but that only goes so far. My feeling is that, if you want to hire a coach for your organization, trying to tap into the Belichick coaching tree might not be your best option.


Maybe NFL teams should take a pass and look elsewhere. You need the whole package to be successful and hiring a Belichick coach is like getting a body without the brain.

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