Bock’s Score: Belichick Does It Again

Why does Bill Belichick always look like he has a stomach ache? Get this man a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Make it extra strength.

No matter what is happening on the field with his New England Patriots, Belichick’s face is set in a permanent grimace. Win regular season games, win playoff games, win Super Bowls, it does not matter. He never looks very happy. You would think this poor guy was coaching some ragtag team – and there are plenty of them around –instead of the Patriots, who are headed for their eighth straight AFC championship game.

In fact, Belichick once coached a ragtag team. After bouncing around as an assistant coach beginning in 1975 with the Baltimore Colts, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos and New York Giants, his first head coaching job came in 1991 with the Cleveland Browns. He arrived with two Super Bowl rings, courtesy of his days as defensive coordinator for Bill Parcells’ Giants. It was the traditional step up from coordinator to head coach. However, it did not work out very well.

In five seasons with the Browns, Belichick’s teams went 36-44 with one playoff appearance, accompanied by plenty of grimacing. When owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore, he assured Belichick that the coach would accompany the Browns. One week later, the coach was fired.

This nasty experience and what followed may be why Belichick always seems so unhappy. It was the beginning of some strange times in his coaching life. After being dumped by the Browns, the coach rushed back to Parcells, who by then was coaching the Patriots. He would be assistant head coach. But Parcells would be a short-timer, headed for the New York Jets as soon as he could escape New England. While the two teams were working out details of Parcells’ exit, Belichick was named interim head coach of the Jets. That lasted six days until Parcells arrived. Belichick became assistant head coach and defensive coordinator with the understanding that he would be the heir apparent with the Jets.

When Parcells was ready to depart, the Jets arranged a press conference to introduce Belichick as their new coach. In a corner of the room, the enigmatic Belichick scribbled on a napkin “I resign as HC of the NYJ.’’

Talk about strange stuff. He was coach of the Jets twice, but never coached a game for them.

Belichick then accepted the gig in New England in 2000 and after a 5-11 first season, he has become the most successful coach in modern NFL history. It did not hurt that he had Tom Brady as his quarterback.

There have been eight AFC championships and five Super Bowl titles and after a spotty regular season, the Pats found themselves in their eighth straight AFC title game, this time in Kansas City against the Chiefs.

The last time Belichick’s Patriots played in Kansas City, was in 2014 and they took a shellacking, losing 41-14. They are anxious to return to the town famous for beef and barbecue.

Anybody got some Tums handy?


About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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