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Thread: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

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    Default Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    http://www.boston.com/sports/footbal..._up/?page=full

    After a bruising year, Belichick opens up
    Patriots' head coach admits he made some mistakes
    By Bella English, Globe Staff | March 4, 2007

    FOXBOROUGH -- Leaning forward in his chair, Bill Belichick wants to make one thing clear up front. He agreed to this interview; he didn't ask for it. "The first thing I'd like to come out is that this is not something I initiated," he says, sitting behind his desk at Gillette Stadium.

    "I wouldn't want anyone to think . . . this is some type of a campaign trail," he says.

    That would hardly be Belichick's style. Can you imagine the poker-faced guy in the gray, hooded sweat shirt slapping backs, pumping hands, and kissing babies?

    But if ever there were a time when Belichick could use a little positive PR, this would be it. Though he remains the Zeus of Patriot Nation, his football season last year was peppered with incidents that earned him bad press. Stiffing his former defensive coordinator Eric Mangini after the Pats lost to Mangini's New York Jets. Shoving a Globe photographer out of his way in an overly eager effort to embrace Mangini after the Pats' playoff win over the Jets. Brushing past a victorious Peyton Manning after losing the AFC championship to the Indianapolis Colts. Having his name dragged through the tabloids in a messy divorce case involving a New Jersey couple.


    The New York Daily News ran a story headlined "The Rise of Bill Bully-chick." Sports analyst Boomer Esiason remarked that he was disgusted with Belichick, whose behavior with the media he called unprofessional. Bob Costas commented on Belichick's lack of maturity in ignoring Manning and snubbing a reporter: "Here's a guy who goes down already on the short list as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. . . . I would hope Bill Belichick's personal graciousness could approach his personal greatness as a coach."

    Then came Ted Johnson. The former Patriots linebacker said last month that postconcussion syndrome has ruined his health and marriage and left him deeply depressed and dependent on amphetamines. Johnson dates his troubles to back-to-back concussions in 2002, the second one occurring after Belichick sent him back onto the field before he had recovered from the first.

    It has been said that athletes don't come to New England to be loved -- they come to win. Belichick seems to embody this truth. He is an unsentimental man in an unsentimental sport. His critics call him arrogant. His friends say he's shy. Evil genius or misunderstood mensch?

    Questioned about the incidents from last season, the coach acknowledges some of the criticism is valid. On shoving the Globe photographer: "It was a mistake, and I'm not going to make any excuses." But he says he and Manning are friends now, having spent a week together in Hawaii last month at the Pro Bowl, where Belichick coached the AFC team to victory. And Belichick disagrees that the season was particularly painful for him: "I'll say this: I've had a lot worse seasons than 14-5."


    Off-season devoted to family, charity

    It is Belichick's first week into the post season, and he's wearing the tired gray sweat shirt turned inside-out, with the sleeves cut off -- hoodless, for variety. His office is a shrine to sports , with photos of Bobby Orr, Bill Russell, the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, and both of Adam Vinatieri's Super Bowl-winning kicks. His son's lacrosse helmet sits on a shelf. So do photos of his former wife and children.

    In a wide-ranging interview in which he is alternately laconic and loquacious, guarded and engaging, Belichick, who will turn 55 next month , says he's looking forward to spending more time with his children, reading, golfing, and fishing in Nantucket, where he owns three pieces of property, including a $4.6 million lot bought a year ago with his then-wife, Debby.

    There will be charitable events, with causes ranging from homeless shelters to children's programs. He is a supporter of Jim Brown's Amer-I-Can Foundation for at-risk youths and AccesSportAmerica for the disabled. And he has his own foundation, which awards college scholarships to students at Annapolis High School, his alma mater, and Struthers High School in Ohio, the alma mater of his late father, Stephen.

    He may face a less pleasant activity this off-season. A New Jersey judge granted a motion in a divorce case that will allow lawyers for Vincent Shenocca to question Belichick about his involvement with Sharon Shenocca, whom Belichick met in the 1980s when she was a receptionist for the New York Giants and he was the defensive coordinator.

    In court papers, Shenocca alleges that his wife has received thousands of dollars from Belichick that she has used to fund "an extravagant lifestyle," including membership in a health club, vacations, and a summer rental at the Jersey shore. She has responded that she and Belichick are just friends.

    Under the judge's order, the coach could be asked to turn over financial records from the past five years that show payments to her -- or the case could be settled without Belichick's involvement. New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, meaning it does not require proof of fault; either spouse can ask for and receive a divorce despite objections from the other.

    "The whole Bill Belichick issue is not really relevant," says Mario Delmonico, the judge's law clerk. "It's just about trying to destroy a reputation. What it's really doing is wasting money" in attorneys' fees.

    Belichick, known to be fiercely private, declined to comment on the allegations. He did volunteer that he and his wife divorced last summer. She lives in Weston, he in Hingham. The couple, who were high school sweethearts, have three children -- Amanda, 22, a senior at Wesleyan University; Stephen, 19, a senior at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Western Massachusetts; and Brian, 15, who attends the Rivers School in Weston. All three play lacrosse; their father was captain of the lacrosse team at Wesleyan and still likes to play, often with his children.

    Friends invariably say Belichick is a great father. Indeed, one of his rare smiles in the two-hour interview comes when he speaks of his children. "What I try to do is be supportive, so whatever they want to do I'm behind," he said. "I don't want to run their lives. I want them to be themselves. You try to set an example and provide guidelines."


    From Cleveland to New England

    Though beloved by fans in New England, Belichick was hugely unpopular in Cleveland, where he benched and cut star quarterback Bernie Kosar and had just one winning season in five years. As head coach of the Browns, Belichick would work late on Tuesdays and sleep overnight in his office. The job of preparing him for a television show taped at 6 a.m. on Wednesdays fell to Kevin Byrne, who was the team's head of public relations.

    "You've seen his fashion," says Byrne, now a senior vice president for the Baltimore Ravens. "Imagine him at 6 in the morning. I'd suggest he comb his hair and put on a sweater, and he would just stare at me. Debby [Belichick] would send in sweaters for me to get him to wear. But usually he went on just like you see him on the sidelines."

    The money Belichick made from the television show was divided among his assistants "because he felt they were working as hard as he," Byrne said. The coach would also slip $100 bills into the hands of young scouts who didn't earn much.

    After Patriots owner Robert Kraft hired Belichick in 2000, Kraft got a call from Browns owner Art Modell, who had fired Belichick in 1995 for reasons that included a losing record and differences in style. "You're not getting Prince Charming," Modell warned Kraft, "but give him some leeway and he'll deliver for you."

    Modell says Belichick may be the best coach in NFL history, "but the other stuff, the human and public relations, is as important as a 3-4 defense."

    Modell has often said he felt "like Rex Harrison in 'My Fair Lady,' " trying to get Belichick to clean up his act. "The media coverage was not good," he says. "There was no connection with the fans, and the fans are our customer base. He was a good man, but his off-field personality, his deficiencies -- when it came to running a football team, he did it his way and only his way."

    Sometimes his way has been unorthodox. In October 2001, after the Pats lost 30-10 to the Miami Dolphins and dropped to 1-3 overall, Belichick staged a funeral for the Miami game ball in which the players buried it and kicked dirt over it. That game was over, he told them; focus on the future. Twelve games later the Patriots won the Super Bowl. The night before the 2004 Super Bowl against Philadelphia, Belichick showed the team the parade route the Eagles had planned if they won, every street and turn. The Pats won, 24-21.

    Despite the Patriots' loss in the AFC championship game this year, many people still consider the team a dynasty, and Belichick remains on Mount Olympus, but it's a hot seat.

    Asked whether he feels the heat, he replies, "I do think the expectations are high now." Does it stress him out? "I can't worry about what everyone else thinks. . . . If I did, in 2001 Michael Bishop would have been our starting quarterback." Bishop was a fan favorite the few times he played in 2000, but the Patriots released him in August 2001, which paved the way for Tom Brady.

    Though Belichick is often terse -- or worse -- with reporters, Kraft said he respects his "understated manner" in a field of outsized egos.

    "One of the reasons I like him as a coach and human being is that he is never boastful and self-important," Kraft says. "He's not a phony, and to me, at this stage of my life, that's important. I'll say this: I've never known him to lie to me. He might not tell me something, but he's never told me a lie." He adds, "I'm not saying he's always forthcoming."

    As far as the tabloid accounts of Belichick's role in the New Jersey divorce case, Kraft says he hasn't spoken to him about it. "I also try not to sit in judgment of anybody, because no one knows anyone's personal life," Kraft said. "All I can say is I think Bill's main focus after football matters are his children, and I have a great deal of respect for that."

    He also applauds the coach's famous work ethic. Comedian Lenny Clarke was on a plane headed to Los Angeles two years ago, wearing his Patriots golf shirt, when Belichick took the seat next to him. They spoke a little, but mostly Belichick had his head in his laptop, studying plays and players. Clarke, on his way to an audition for a television show, decided to follow suit.

    "The more he worked, the more I worked on my script. I was never so well prepared. I went in and nailed the show that day. It's usually, 'Thank you very much. We'll call you.' And I owe it to Bill Belichick. He's a stickler," says Clarke whose new show, "The Winner," premieres tonight on the Fox network.


    The evolution of Bill Belichick

    Few people know Belichick better than his good friend Rob Ingraham, a classmate from Wesleyan. For Belichick's 50th birthday, he and Debby invited friends to Nantucket. Ingraham, who owns a sports marketing firm and lives on Long Island, brought his rock band to play. But Ingraham says there was one condition: Belichick had to perform a song. He sang "Love Potion Number Nine." "He brought the house down," Ingraham said. "He sang on key and displayed an on-stage flair."

    Says Belichick: "Do you know why I chose that song? It was the shortest one. It's like two minutes and three seconds."

    Ingraham believes Belichick has evolved over the years: "As he's gotten older, he's more willing to show his emotions. . . . He has a better grasp of what's truly important in life."

    Belichick has been wonderful with his children, Ingraham says, giving them a puppy from his English golden retriever's litter and taking his son, Tucker, on the team plane to the Super Bowl in 2004. The two share a regular e-mail correspondence in which Tucker, 11, critiques each Patriots game, and Belichick responds.

    "I hope you are off to a good start at school," Belichick wrote Tucker in one exchange three years ago . "Be sure to sit in the front row and pay attention to the teacher. That is what our best players do when we have meetings. Tom Brady always sits in the front row with his notebook open when the meeting starts. He also does his homework and turns it in when he comes to the stadium in the morning. Just like you, right?"

    But the warm-and-fuzzy Belichick is not someone the public knows. With his players he can be brutally profane. Asked about his relationship with them, he replies: "Some of them I love. I can't say I love 53 guys. I respect all of them, and I hope they respect me."

    Team captains Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi did not respond to the Globe's request for interviews. But sports radio host Michael Holley, a former Globe sportswriter who spent two years following the team for his 2005 book, "Patriot Reign," spoke of the relationship.

    "Even the guy who hates his guts will tell you he's a great coach," Holley said. "He's not interested in being buddies with them, and they're not interested in being buddies with him. All they expect from him is, 'Give us a chance to win.' I don't think people would say Bill Belichick is a great man. He's a great coach. He's an interesting man."

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Eh....nice article. I just don't think anyone could ever say anything to change my opinion that Belichick is anything other than an immature, petty, arrogant, slob. Maybe he does do those other things behind the scenes, but in a profession like his, you are what you appear to be. Maybe that's unfair, but it's true.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by the hooded one
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    The first thing I'd like to come out is that this is not something I initiated.

    Of course you didn't initate it. I'm sure you get interview requests after every season. The difference is this time you felt compelled to give in.

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    Member Moses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil View Post
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    Eh....nice article. I just don't think anyone could ever say anything to change my opinion that Belichick is anything other than an immature, petty, arrogant, slob. Maybe he does do those other things behind the scenes, but in a profession like his, you are what you appear to be. Maybe that's unfair, but it's true.
    I think the line that says he's an 'unsentimental man in an unsentimental sport' says it best. I could care less if he's not a nice guy to hang out with..as long as he wins games.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Call me old fashioned, but I think how you play the game and how you treat your opponents is just as important as winning.

    Bill has shown he's completely classless, by either stepping in front of Marvin on an interception so he has to slow down and possibly miss a tackle or blows off the opposing coach/player. IMHO he disrespects the game by wearing that stupid cutoff sweatshirt.

    I couldn't support someone who thinks his poop don't stink, and to me he is the posterboy for that kind of arrogance.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    Call me old fashioned, but I think how you play the game and how you treat your opponents is just as important as winning.
    I think for me, the truth is that it is not as important as winning, but you should ACT like it is. That's class.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    I'm actually involved in something sort of similiar. My HS just recently bought out their boy's basketball head coach's contract because some players didn't like him and their parents *****ed loud and long enough to the school board.

    Once that crap started happening, I hoped they would lose out the season, which they almost did.

    I don't want to see a classless team, whether I'm a fan or not, win. It may just be me, but I hate that crap.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    I'm actually involved in something sort of similiar. My HS just recently bought out their boy's basketball head coach's contract because some players didn't like him and their parents *****ed loud and long enough to the school board.

    Once that crap started happening, I hoped they would lose out the season, which they almost did.

    I don't want to see a classless team, whether I'm a fan or not, win. It may just be me, but I hate that crap.
    A classless team? Because a head coach who isn't even that bad? The only guy on our team you could call classless would be Harrison..but even then, you would be stating how he was a very long time ago.

    But I guess I could understand why some Colts fans would have sour grapes. All those years of being beaten by the Patriots and bad player relations between Belichick and the Colts players. Belichick is one of those guys who isn't personal with all his players, but still gets the most out of them and gets their respect...and there is no way I would trade him for a 'nice guy' who was best friends with his players and every player in the league if he could not win any games.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    But I guess I could understand why some Colts fans would have sour grapes. All those years of being beaten by the Patriots and bad player relations between Belichick and the Colts players.

    Rigggght. We just won the superbowl, beating the Pats in the process. I think the Pats eliminating the Colts 2 and 3 seasons ago is the last thing on our mind. The Pats have eliminated us out of the playoffs one more time than we have eliminated them. The Pats haven't beat us since January 2005, we've won 3 straight meanings.

    I don't think Colts fans are being bitter. I just think that we, along with everyone else that's familiar with the NFL, realize that Belichick is an A-Hole.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam1987 View Post
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    Rigggght. We just won the superbowl, beating the Pats in the process. I think the Pats eliminating the Colts 2 and 3 seasons ago is the last thing on our mind. The Pats have eliminated us out of the playoffs one more time than we have eliminated them. The Pats haven't beat us since January 2005, we've won 3 straight meanings.

    I don't think Colts fans are being bitter. I just think that we, along with everyone else that's familiar with the NFL, realize that Belichick is an A-Hole.
    Do you know Belichick personally? I wont get into this seeing as how this is a battle I can't win on these forums. Belichick isn't a people person and I'll be the first to admit that. I would still take Belichick over any other HC in the league. No other coach in the league could have gotten as much out of the Pats players as Bill Belichick has.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Whether I'm bitter or not it doesn't change the fact that Belichick is a classless jerk.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Why does everyone think Belichick is such a classless jerk? I'm not trying to start anything, but other then disrespecting Peyton in the past, what has he honestly done that has angered all of you so much? I would have figured after this article your opinions of him may have changed a little bit seeing as how him and Peyton have worked it out. It seems like every player that hates him originally comes to like him once he actually knows him. LT, Peyton, etc.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    Do you know Belichick personally? I wont get into this seeing as how this is a battle I can't win on these forums. Belichick isn't a people person and I'll be the first to admit that. I would still take Belichick over any other HC in the league. No other coach in the league could have gotten as much out of the Pats players as Bill Belichick has.

    No, and I'm guessing you don't either, so my guess is as good as yours. All any fan can do is judge by what they see.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Belichick has never been media savvy or warm and fuzzy to anybody.

    He is extremely demanding of his players on and off the field, though. He won't take any crap and he will cut you in a heartbeat if you are not a good teammate and if you are a classless jerk. His players are solid in the community. Kraft demands it and Bill does too, so all the talk about the Pats being classless is in fact lingering sour grapes. Get over it.

    Being demanding of your players is what makes the Randy Moss rumors so interesting. Bill won't take crap from Randy. If Bill thinks it can actually work out, then the track record says it will.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    Why does everyone think Belichick is such a classless jerk? I'm not trying to start anything, but other then disrespecting Peyton in the past, what has he honestly done that has angered all of you so much? I would have figured after this article your opinions of him may have changed a little bit seeing as how him and Peyton have worked it out. It seems like every player that hates him originally comes to like him once he actually knows him. LT, Peyton, etc.

    People in this thread have already clearly pointed out the lack of sportsmanship after losses, the snubbing of the media (and the NFL would be a hobby if it weren't for the media), the holding of Marvin Harrison as he tried to get back inbounds. I would also point out the Patriot's tendency to fake defensive injuries to stall offensive momentum and the repeated abuse of the "no hands on recievers" rule (which was cleary re-emphasized because of the Patriots). While those last two cannot be pinned to the coach for starting it (although it seems like a logical conclusion), he is at least guilty for letting it continue.

    Look, being a dirty coach or being an a-hole isn't terrible. Reggie flopped all the time and said some horrible crap to the opposition. We aren't saying that Belichick is an invalid coach. He's a great coach and under different circumstances I would love to have him.

    But he is also a dirty cheating a-hole. It's not a putdown, it's just............true.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    A classless team? Because a head coach who isn't even that bad? The only guy on our team you could call classless would be Harrison..but even then, you would be stating how he was a very long time ago.
    I think I've laid out why I think he's classless, and obviously this opinion isn't just held by myself.

    If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. A team is a reflection of it's coaches/management. Yes, having a classless coach makes the whole entire team classless, especially when he's one of the two most recognizable faces in the franchise.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    I think I've laid out why I think he's classless, and obviously this opinion isn't just held by myself.

    If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. A team is a reflection of it's coaches/management. Yes, having a classless coach makes the whole entire team classless, especially when he's one of the two most recognizable faces in the franchise.
    You and I have VERY different definitions of the word classless. I feel that classless coaches leave players in and blow other teams out even when they are up by 30 points. I think classless players/coaches intentionally injure other players. I do not think being a bad sport means he is classless. As for your opinion, it is held by most Colts fans..which is no surprise. The Patriots and Colts have been rivals for the past 5 years..there is going to be some bitterness between the two teams. If you asked a fan from every team in the NFL, I'm willing to bet you very few would say he is classless other then Jets/Colts fans. A bad sport, maybe.

    And thank you flavadave. I understand what you mean.

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    Default Re: Belichick interview, says he and Peyton are good friends after pro bowl week

    I didn't dislike Belicheck until he snubbed the Jets for New England. By all rights he should of been the Jets coach after the Tuna left.

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