I hate New England Patriots head coach Bill Bellichick. I don’t hate him in the same way that I hate child molesters. No, that is a special kind of hatred. You know, the kind where you wish they would spend eternity in Hell having their brain slowly and painfully eaten by carnivorous fire ants while simultaneously being forced to listen to Jessica Simpson music.
I don’t hate Belichick in the same way that I hate brussels sprouts. Though I find them to be utterly disgusting, I could probably force myself to eat brussels sprouts if they were the only food available to prevent myself from dying of starvation. Under those circumstances, I might even grow to like them.
I don’t hate Belichick in the same way that I hate Paris Hilton and Tila Tequila. What I feel for them is actually more like pity, because they don’t seem to realize how pathetic their vapid act truly is.
Nope, I hate Bill Belichick in a totally different way. I hate him the same way that I hated Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, George Foster, and the rest of the Big Red Machine. During the 70′s, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds were often the best two teams in baseball. Unfortunately, they both played in the National League. So instead of making it to the World Series like they should have, my beloved Pirates were repeatedly denied their rightful place of honor by the hated Reds.
I hate Bill Belichick the same way that I hated the Boston Celtics of the 80′s. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Dennis Johnson, and Danny Ainge were the victims of more than a few verbal bludgeonings by me (through the TV, of course). I hated their ugly green shoes. I hated their stupid green uniforms. And I hated the way they always seemed to beat my idol, Dr. J, and his Philadelphia 76ers.
I hate Bill Belichick in the same way that I recently found myself hating the Detroit Red Wings as they defeated Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup championship. As much as I was rooting for “Sid the kid” and company, deep down I knew that the Red Wings were just….better.
The type of hatred that I felt for all of these teams is a hatred that is, at least partially, based on respect……and jealousy. You know the old saying, “if you can’t beat them, hate them”.
I’m sure that some of you have felt the same type of hatred. Perhaps you’ve felt it for Alex Rodriguez. Or Kobe Bryant. Or Randy Moss. You recognize that they are pompous, arrogant, and able to back up every ounce of their brashness with pure, unadulterated talent. What other option is there but to hate them. And when they stand in the way of your team, that hatred is multiplied tenfold.
Since becoming head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick holds a 5-1 record against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That lone loss was during the 2004 regular season. Unfortunately, Belichick avenged that loss during the same year by beating the Steelers in the 2004 AFC championship game. To add insult to injury, he beat them in Pittsburgh. He also beat the Steelers in the AFC championship game in 2001. That one was also in Pittsburgh. Curse you, Bill Belichick!
Bill Belichick is actually the only NFL coach that I fear. When we play any other team, my mind is focused primarily on their players. When the Steelers play the Chargers, they have to beat LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers, and Antonio Gates. When they play the Cowboys, they have to beat Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, and Marion Barber. When they play the Philadelphia Eagles, they have to beat Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. But when the Steelers play the New England Patriots, they have to beat Bill Belichick.
More than any other coach in the NFL, Belichick seems to be able to put together a game plan that will defeat his intended opponent. During his tenure with the Patriots, he has not coached the most talented players. He simply has a way of understanding his players’ strengths and weaknesses, and masterfully utilizing them in the optimal fashion to win.
Mike Vrabel used to play for the Steelers. He didn’t even have enough talent to break into the Steelers’ starting lineup. But when Belichick got his hands on him, Vrabel became a star. Wes Welker was a serviceable receiver, but Belichick made him one of the most prolific receivers in the NFL. He took Bengals cast-off Corey Dillon and made him a world champ. 50 year old Junior Seau was reborn under Belichick. As blasphemous as it may sound, I am not even certain that 6th round draft pick Tom Brady would be the superstar that he is if it weren’t for Belichick. Stop laughing. I’m totally serious.
In my opinion, until the Patriot acquired Randy Moss, they didn’t really have any players who had physical talents that were head and shoulders above the other players in the league at their position. Some will argue that Tom Brady falls into that category, but Brady showed no sign of being that type of player while at Michigan. He only manifested that level of ability when teamed with the mad scientist Bill Belichick. What other coach could take Matt Cassel, an unknown quarterback who hadn’t started a game since high school, and get him to pass for 400 yards in an NFL game?
Coach Belichick develops game plans and makes in-game adjustments better than any coach in the NFL. In 2007, Belichick understood that his team was not going to beat the Steelers by trying to run against them. The Steelers had already proven that running against them was an extremely difficult task. So Belichick developed a game plan that all but eliminated the run. His team passed the ball 46 times, while only attempting 9 running plays. He used short passes as a de facto running game. The result; Patriots 34, Steelers 13. Tom Brady accumulated 399 passing yards, while the Patriots rushed for only 22 yards.
Belichick even manages to make the Steelers’ resident genius, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, look mundane. As much as I hate to admit it, Belichick dissects LeBeau’s defenses like biology students dissect frogs.
Belichick is even better at countering the Steelers’ offense. At times, it even seems as though Belichick knows what plays the Steelers are going to run before they actually run them. Perhaps he is cheating. After all, it is now known that Belichick has cheated before to give his team an advantage. But if he is cheating, that makes me respect him even more. As they say, “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”.
For those who question Belichick’s coaching ability, it should be noted that he is the only NFL coach to record 9 or more wins in each of the last 5 seasons. His teams own all of the major winning streaks in NFL history: consecutive overall wins (21 from 2003 – 2004), consecutive regular season wins (18 from 2003 – 2004), and consecutive playoff wins (10 from 2001 – 2005). Only legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll has won more Super Bowls than Belichick (Belichick is tied with Joe Gibbs and Bill Walsh for second place).
Bill Belichick actually won his first two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 1986 and 1990. George Seifert is the only other coach who has won multiple Super Bowls as both a head coach and as an assistant coach.
Next week, the Steelers will travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots. Tom Brady won’t play. Neither will Adalius Thomas. Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour have been battling injuries, and neither may play. But that doesn’t matter. The Patriots’ strength is not in their players. Their strength is in their coaching. As long as Bill Belichick is the Patriots’ coach, they have a good chance of winning. That’s why I hate him.
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