Belichick at the 2012 Time 100 gala
|New England Patriots|
April 16, 1952 |
|Career highlights and awards|
As a head coach:
As a defensive coordinator:
|Head coaching record|
|Regular season:||250–118 (.679)|
|Coaching stats at PFR|
William Stephen Belichick (//; born April 16, 1952) is an American football coach who is the head coach of the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). Belichick has extensive authority over the Patriots' football operations, effectively making him the general manager of the team as well. He was previously the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Belichick began his coaching career in 1975, and by 1985, was the defensive coordinator for New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells. Parcells and Belichick won two Super Bowls together (XXI and XXV), before Belichick left to become the head coach in Cleveland in 1991. He remained in Cleveland for five seasons, and was fired following the team's 1995 season. Belichick then rejoined Parcells, first in New England where the team lost Super Bowl XXXI, and later with the New York Jets.
After being named head coach of the Jets in early 2000, Belichick resigned after only one day on the job to accept the head coaching job for the New England Patriots on January 27, 2000. Since then, Belichick has led the Patriots to 15 AFC East division titles, 12 appearances in the AFC Championship Game, and eight Super Bowl appearances. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons. His teams won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, and LI and lost Super Bowls XLII, XLVI, and LII. Belichick's appearance in Super Bowl LII extended his record to eight Bowls as a head coach (second place is Don Shula with six), as well as being a record eleventh participation in a Super Bowl in any capacity (second place is Dan Reeves). This also tied him with Neal Dahlen for the most Super Bowl wins in any capacity with seven. In addition, their appearance in Super Bowl LII was the Patriots' tenth, the most of any team.
Belichick is the NFL's longest-tenured active head coach, and currently tied for third all-time in regular season coaching wins in the NFL at 250, and first in playoff coaching wins with 28. He completed his 40th season as an NFL coach in 2014 and won his fifth Super Bowl as a head coach following the 2016 season, surpassing former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll as the only head coach to win five Super Bowls. He is one of only five head coaches with four or more titles in NFL history. He is also the only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowl championships in a four-year span.
Belichick was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Jeannette (Munn) and Steve Belichick. He was raised in Annapolis, Maryland, where his father was an assistant football coach at the United States Naval Academy. Belichick has cited his father as one of his most important football mentors, and Belichick often studied football with his father. He graduated from Annapolis High School in 1970 with classmate Sally Brice-O'Hara. While there, he played football and lacrosse, with the latter being his favorite sport. He enrolled at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, for a postgraduate year, with the intention of improving his grades and test scores to be admitted into a quality college. The school honored him 40 years later by inducting him into its Athletics Hall of Honor in 2011.
Belichick subsequently attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he played center and tight end. In addition to being a member of the football team, he played lacrosse and squash, serving as the captain of the lacrosse team during his senior season. A member of Chi Psi fraternity, he earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1975. He would eventually be part of the inaugural induction class into the university's Athletics Hall of Fame in spring 2008.
After graduating, Belichick took a $25-per-week job as an assistant to Baltimore Colts head coach Ted Marchibroda in 1975. In 1976, he joined the Detroit Lions as their assistant special teams coach before adding tight ends and wide receivers to his coaching duties in 1977. He spent the 1978 season with the Denver Broncos as their assistant special teams coach and defensive assistant.
In 1979, Belichick began a 12-year stint with the New York Giants alongside head coach Ray Perkins as a defensive assistant and special teams coach. He added linebackers coaching to his duties in 1980 and was named defensive coordinator in 1985 under head coach Bill Parcells, who had replaced Perkins in 1983. The Giants won Super Bowls following the 1986 and 1990 seasons. His defensive game plan from the New York Giants' 20–19 upset of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
From 1991 until 1995, Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. During his tenure in Cleveland, he compiled a 36–44 record, leading the team to the playoffs in 1994, his only winning year with the team. Coincidentally, his one playoff victory during his Browns tenure was achieved against the Patriots in the Wild Card round during that postseason. In Belichick's last season in Cleveland the Browns finished 5–11, despite starting 3–1. One of his most controversial moves was cutting quarterback Bernie Kosar midway through the 1993 season. Kosar was signed by the Dallas Cowboys two days later, won a ring with the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII. In November 1995, in the middle of the ongoing football season, Browns owner Art Modell had announced he would move his franchise to Baltimore after the season. After first being given assurances that he would coach the transplanted Baltimore Ravens, Belichick was instead fired on February 14, 1996, one week after the shift was officially announced.
After his dismissal by the new Baltimore Ravens, Belichick served under Parcells again as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach with the Patriots for the 1996 season. The Patriots finished with an 11–5 record and won the AFC championship, but they lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI amid rumors of Parcells's impending defection.
Belichick had two different stints as the head coach of the New York Jets without ever coaching a game.
In February 1997, Belichick, who had been an assistant coach under Bill Parcells with the New York Giants and New England Patriots, was named the Jets interim head coach while the Jets and Patriots continued to negotiate compensation to release Parcells from his contract with the Patriots and allow Parcells to coach the Jets. Six days later, the Patriots and Jets reached an agreement that allowed Parcells to coach the Jets, and Belichick became the team's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
When Parcells stepped down as head coach in 1999, he had already arranged with team management to have Belichick succeed him. However, Belichick would be the New York Jets' head coach for only one day. When Belichick was introduced as head coach to the media—the day after his hiring was publicized—he turned it into a surprise-resignation announcement. Before taking the podium, he scrawled a resignation note on a sheet of loose leaf paper that read, in its entirety, "I resign as HC of the NYJ." He then delivered a half-hour speech explaining his resignation to the assembled press corps.
Soon after this bizarre turn of events, he was introduced as the Patriots' 12th full-time head coach, succeeding the recently fired Pete Carroll. (The Patriots had tried to hire him away from Parcells/the Jets in the past.) Parcells and the Jets claimed that Belichick was still under contract to the Jets, and demanded compensation from the Patriots. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue agreed, and the Patriots gave the Jets a first-round draft pick in 2000 in exchange for the right to hire Belichick.
Soon after hiring Belichick, owner Robert Kraft gave him near-complete control over the team's football operations, effectively making him the team's general manager as well. Until 2009, Belichick split many of the duties normally held by a general manager on other clubs with player personnel director Scott Pioli, though Belichick had the final say on football matters. Pioli left for the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2009 season.
The Patriots went 5–11 in the 2000 regular season and missed the playoffs. To date, this is Belichick's only losing season with the Patriots, and also the only year in which Tom Brady did not start at quarterback in any regular season games. However, Belichick won 11 games with Matt Cassel in 2008 after Brady suffered a season-ending injury in week 1.
In 2001, the Patriots went 11–5 in the regular season, and defeated the Oakland Raiders (in the "Tuck Rule Game") and Pittsburgh Steelers on the way to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXVI, Belichick's defense held the St. Louis Rams' offense, which had averaged 31 points during the season, to 17 points, and the Patriots won on a last second field goal by Adam Vinatieri. The win was the first Super Bowl championship in Patriots history.
The following season (2002)—the first in Gillette Stadium—the Patriots went 9–7 and missed the playoffs. New England finished with the same record as the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins, but the Jets won the AFC East title as a result of the third tiebreaker (record among common opponents).
The Patriots' 2003 season started with a 31–0 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, a few days after they released team defensive captain Lawyer Milloy. However, they roared through the remainder of the season to finish 14–2, setting a new franchise record for wins in a season. In the final week of the regular season the Patriots avenged their loss to the Bills by the same 31–0 score. They defeated the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional round. Playing against the Indianapolis Colts and Co-MVP Peyton Manning (Steve McNair of the Titans was also Co-MVP) the Patriots recorded four interceptions, and advanced to Super Bowl XXXVIII, where they defeated the Carolina Panthers 32–29 on a late Adam Vinatieri field goal. Belichick also was awarded with the NFL Coach of the Year Award.
In 2004, the Patriots once again finished with a 14–2 record, and they defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC divisional round. They opened the season at 6–0, which combined with the 15 straight wins to end the previous regular season, those 21 straight wins broke the record for most wins in a row (18 regular season wins in a row), formerly held by the Miami Dolphins during and just after their perfect 1972 season with 18 straight wins (16 regular season, 1971–73). They defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. In Super Bowl XXXIX, the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles and became only the second team to win three Super Bowls in four years. Belichick is the only coach to accomplish this feat.
With a new defensive coordinator in Eric Mangini and no named offensive coordinator, the Patriots went 10–6 in 2005 and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card round before losing to the Denver Broncos in the divisional round. Earlier, with a season-opening win over the Raiders, Belichick notched his 54th win with the Patriots, passing Mike Holovak as the winningest coach in Patriots history.
The Patriots went 12–4 in 2006 and defeated the New York Jets in the Wild Card round. They then beat the San Diego Chargers the next week, before losing to the eventual Super Bowl XLI winner Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game 38–34. The Patriots led 21–3 mid-way during the second quarter, but the Colts mounted one of the great comebacks in playoff history.
In 2007, Belichick led the Patriots to the first perfect regular season since the introduction of the 16-game regular season schedule in 1978, only the fourth team to do so in National Football League history after the 1934 and 1942 Chicago Bears and 1972 Miami Dolphins. However, the Patriots were upset in Super Bowl XLII by the New York Giants. The Patriots' failure to attain a "perfect season" (undefeated and untied, including playoffs) preserved the Miami Dolphins as the sole team to do so, having finished their 1972 regular season at 14–0 and having won three games in the playoffs. Only two other teams in professional football have recorded a perfect season—the 1948 Cleveland Browns (14–0) of the then All-America Football Conference and the 1948 Calgary Stampeders (12–0) of the Canadian Football League. No team in the former American Football League had a perfect season.
In the Patriots' 2008 season-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury in the first quarter. Backup quarterback Matt Cassel was named the starter for the remainder of the season. However, with a win in week 2, the Patriots broke their own record for regular season wins in a row with 21 (2006–08). After losing over a dozen players to the injured reserve list, including Rodney Harrison, Adalius Thomas, and Laurence Maroney, the Patriots still managed their league-leading eighth consecutive season with a winning record, going 11–5. Nevertheless, the Patriots, who finished second in the AFC East, missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002, losing tiebreakers to the Dolphins (who won the division on the fourth tiebreaker, better conference record) and the Ravens (who beat out the Patriots for the last playoff spot due to a better conference record). The 1985 Denver Broncos are the only other 11-win team to miss the playoffs in a 16-game season.
In 2009, with a fully healthy Tom Brady back as the starting quarterback, Belichick was able to guide the Patriots to yet another AFC East division title with a 10-6 record. However, the Patriots lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Wild Card Game.
In the 2010 season, Belichick and the Patriots finished with a 14–2 record for the top seed in the AFC. However, their postseason ended quickly with a 28–21 loss to the New York Jets in the Divisional Round.
In the 2011 season, the Patriots topped the AFC with a 13–3 record. Following a victory over the Denver Broncos, on January 22, 2012, the Patriots won the AFC Championship game beating the Baltimore Ravens 23–20 when the Ravens failed to score a touchdown and Baltimore's kicker, Billy Cundiff, missed a routine 32-yard field goal attempt to tie the game and send it into overtime. This sent New England to their fifth Super Bowl under Belichick. In Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl XLII rematch to the Giants 21–17.
On September 26, 2012, following a 31–30 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Belichick was fined $50,000 for grabbing a replacement official's arm while asking for more specific clarity on a ruling after Baltimore had narrowly converted a last-second field goal attempt to secure the win. The Patriots finished the 2012 regular season with a 12–4 record and made it to the AFC Championship game before losing to the Baltimore Ravens, ending their season.
Belichick's Patriots began the 2013 season with much upheaval on the offensive side of the ball with the injury of Rob Gronkowski, the arrest and subsequent release of Aaron Hernandez, the departures of Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos and Danny Woodhead to the San Diego Chargers in free agency, and the release of Brandon Lloyd. To replace them, the Patriots signed Danny Amendola in free agency, drafted rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, and signed undrafted rookie free agent Kenbrell Thompkins. The team ended the season with a 12–4 record, winning the AFC East and securing a playoff berth and a first-round bye, seeding second in the AFC standings. They lost to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship by a score of 26–16.
In the 2014 season, Belichick's Patriots recorded a 12–4 record for the third straight season. They reached Super Bowl XLIX, where they defeated the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28–24. With his fourth championship as head coach, Belichick tied Chuck Noll for most wins by a head coach in a Super Bowl.
In the 2015 season, Belichick's Patriots recorded a 12–4 record for the fourth straight season. They reached the AFC Championship, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos by a score of 20–18.
In the 2016 season, Belichick's Patriots recorded a 14-2 record, which was good for the #1 seed for the AFC playoffs. They reached Super Bowl LI, where they defeated the Atlanta Falcons in a comeback victory by a score of 34–28 in overtime. The Patriots were down 28–3 at one point in the third quarter. With the victory, Belichick won his record fifth Super Bowl title as a head coach.
In the 2017 season, Belichick's Patriots went 13-3, setting an NFL record 8th consecutive 12-or-more win seasons, capturing their 9th consecutive AFC East title and their 15th of the last 17 seasons. They defeated the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round 35–14, and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game 24-20, claiming their second AFC title in two years, while also extending their record of consecutive AFC Championship appearances with seven. Super Bowl LII was Belichick's eighth title game as head coach and his eleventh overall in any capacity, which was also the Patriot's tenth appearance, all extending NFL records. The Ringer wrote that Belichick's "team is different from many of New England’s famous teams from the previous decade: The first iteration of the Patriots dynasty relied on defense. This year, they are 29th in yards allowed (though fifth in points allowed) and instead have perfected the art of situational football". The latter Patriots teams have been noted for mounting late comebacks in playoff games.
However, the Patriots fell to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, 41-33, as Nick Foles repeated his dominant NFC Championship performance and led Philadelphia to victory in a high scoring game. The Patriots were down early, as they have been in most of their Super Bowl wins. However, they could not make a comeback this time, although they came very close. The Eagles defense stripped sacked Tom Brady to get the ball back with about 2 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. The Patriots did get the ball again before the end of the game, but they ran out of time to score.
In an incident dubbed "Spygate," on September 9, 2007, NFL security caught a Patriots video assistant taping the New York Jets' defensive signals from the sidelines. The NFL rules state "No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game." Jets coach Eric Mangini, a former Patriots assistant, tipped off league officials that the Patriots might have been filming their signals. After the game, the Jets formally complained to the league.
On September 13, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000—the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league's 87-year history, and fined the Patriots $250,000. Additionally, the Patriots forfeited their first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Roger Goodell, a former employee of the Jets, said that he fined the Patriots as a team because Belichick exercises so much control over the Patriots' on-field operations that "his actions and decisions are properly attributed to the club." Goodell considered suspending Belichick, but decided that taking away draft picks would be more severe in the long run. Gary Myers, New York Daily News columnist, stated Belichick should have been suspended by Goodell for the Patriots' next game against the Jets.
Belichick later issued the following statement:
I accept full responsibility for the actions that led to tonight's ruling. Once again, I apologize to the Kraft family and every person directly or indirectly associated with the New England Patriots for the embarrassment, distraction and penalty my mistake caused. I also apologize to Patriots fans and would like to thank them for their support during the past few days and throughout my career. [...] As the Commissioner acknowledged, our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week's game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress. [...] Part of my job as head coach is to ensure that our football operations are conducted in compliance of the league rules and all accepted interpretations of them. My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect. [...] With tonight's resolution, I will not be offering any further comments on this matter. We are moving on with our preparations for Sunday's game.
The sanctions against Belichick were the harshest imposed on a head coach in league history until the New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season for covering up a scheme in which bounties were paid for deliberately knocking opponents out of games.
Following the incident and its fallout, Belichick led the Patriots to a perfect 16–0 regular season record, and was awarded the 2007 NFL Coach of the Year Award, as voted on by the Associated Press.
Under Belichick, the Patriots have a regular-season record of 201–71–0 over 17 seasons. Belichick is far and away the winningest coach in Patriots history; his 201 wins with the franchise are more than triple those of runner-up Mike Holovak. Belichick also has compiled a 27–10 record in the playoffs with New England, and 5–3 in Super Bowls. He has led the Patriots to fifteen division titles, including five consecutive titles from 2003 to 2007 and nine consecutive titles from 2009 to 2017. Under Belichick, the team only missed the playoffs in 2000 and on tiebreakers in 2002 and 2008.
Although the Patriots are known for being very secretive about the details of Belichick's contract, an ESPN.com report in September 2007, shortly after the Spygate incident began, indicated that the Patriots had extended Belichick's contract, before the 2007 season began, through at least the 2013 season.
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|CLE||1991||6||10||0||.375||3rd in AFC Central||—||—||—||—|
|CLE||1992||7||9||0||.438||3rd in AFC Central||—||—||—||—|
|CLE||1993||7||9||0||.438||3rd in AFC Central||—||—||—||—|
|CLE||1994||11||5||0||.688||2nd in AFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in AFC Divisional Game|
|CLE||1995||5||11||0||.313||4th in AFC Central||—||—||—||—|
|NE||2000||5||11||0||.313||5th in AFC East||—||—||—||—|
|NE||2001||11||5||0||.688||1st in AFC East||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl XXXVI champions|
|NE||2002||9||7||0||.563||2nd in AFC East||—||—||—||—|
|NE||2003||14||2||0||.875||1st in AFC East||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl XXXVIII champions|
|NE||2004||14||2||0||.875||1st in AFC East||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl XXXIX champions|
|NE||2005||10||6||0||.625||1st in AFC East||1||1||.500||Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Divisional Game|
|NE||2006||12||4||0||.750||1st in AFC East||2||1||.667||Lost to Indianapolis Colts in AFC Championship Game|
|NE||2007||16||0||0||1.000||1st in AFC East||2||1||.667||Lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII|
|NE||2008||11||5||0||.688||2nd in AFC East||—||—||—||—|
|NE||2009||10||6||0||.625||1st in AFC East||0||1||.000||Lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Wild Card Game|
|NE||2010||14||2||0||.875||1st in AFC East||0||1||.000||Lost to New York Jets in AFC Divisional Game|
|NE||2011||13||3||0||.813||1st in AFC East||2||1||.667||Lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI|
|NE||2012||12||4||0||.750||1st in AFC East||1||1||.500||Lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Championship Game|
|NE||2013||12||4||0||.750||1st in AFC East||1||1||.500||Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Championship Game|
|NE||2014||12||4||0||.750||1st in AFC East||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl XLIX champions|
|NE||2015||12||4||0||.750||1st in AFC East||1||1||.500||Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Championship Game|
|NE||2016||14||2||0||.875||1st in AFC East||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl LI champions|
|NE||2017||13||3||0||.813||1st in AFC East||2||1||.667||Lost to Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII|
Coaching record accurate as of the end of 2017 season.
Bill Belichick has worked under five head coaches:
Seven of Belichick's assistant coaches have become NFL head coaches:
Seven assistant coaches have become NCAA Division I head coaches:
One assistant coach has become a Canadian Football League head coach:
Nineteen assistant coaches or executives under Belichick have become assistant head coaches, coordinators or executives in the NFL:
Belichick has been known to cultivate ties with the collegiate branches of his coaching tree: in the 2005 NFL Draft, the Patriots drafted two players from Fresno State, while in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Patriots drafted one Notre Dame player, and then signed two more as free agents after the draft.
In addition, Belichick is a devoted student of the game; during the offseason, he has spent significant amounts of time visiting with other programs to learn from their experiences. For example, he has studied the Navy run offense, sought Bill Walsh (in past years) to understand more about the San Francisco 49ers as an organization and the West Coast offense as a system, and spent time with Jimmy Johnson to learn about drafting and contract negotiations.
Similarly, Belichick paid several visits to former University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer considers himself a protégé of Belichick and has tried to emulate Belichick's success at New England. Former Rutgers University head coach Greg Schiano had been an annual visitor to New England Patriots' minicamps prior to becoming the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schiano has consulted with Belichick on a variety of topics, most notably defense.
Belichick was married to Debby Clarke, but they divorced in the summer of 2006. They allegedly separated before the 2004 season, which was disclosed by the Patriots in July 2005. Belichick was also accused of maintaining a relationship with former Giants receptionist Sharon Shenocca, which helped precipitate her divorce. Belichick was seen with Linda Holliday of Jupiter, Florida several times in Arizona during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLII.
He has three children with Debby Clarke Belichick: Amanda, Stephen, and Brian. Amanda is a 2007 graduate of Wesleyan University, where she, like her father, played lacrosse. After college, she worked at Connecticut preparatory school Choate Rosemary Hall as a lacrosse coach and in the admissions department. In 2009 she became an assistant coach for the University of Massachusetts Amherst women's lacrosse team, before joining the Ohio State Buckeyes in the same position the next year. After serving as interim head women's lacrosse coach at Wesleyan, she was named head women's lacrosse coach at Holy Cross College in Massachusetts in July 2015. Stephen played lacrosse and football at Rutgers University on scholarship. Stephen was hired as an assistant coach with the New England Patriots in May 2012; as of 2016, he is the team's safeties coach. Brian attended Trinity College where he played lacrosse. In 2016 Brian was hired to the Patriots' front office as a scouting assistant.
Belichick is of Croatian ancestry. His father, Steve Belichick (born Stephen Biličić), played for the Detroit Lions and was an assistant coach and scout with the United States Naval Academy football team for 33 years. Bill reportedly learned to break down game films at a young age by watching his father and the Navy staff do their jobs. His paternal grandparents, Ivan Biličić and Marija (Mary) Barković, emigrated from Karlovac, Croatia (from the village of Draganić) in 1897 to the United States, where they settled in Monessen, Pennsylvania.
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