Who Is Bill Belichick?
The son of a longtime college coach, Bill Belichick got his own start in coaching in 1975 when he took a job with the Baltimore Colts. By the 1980s, he was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants and praised as one of the brightest minds in the game. After a rocky stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s, the New England Patriots hired Belichick in 2000. He's since guided the franchise to six Super Bowl victories, the most by a head coach in NFL history.
Belichick was born William Stephen Belichick on April 16, 1952, in Nashville, Tennessee. The only child of Steve and Jeannette Belichick, Bill showed an early aptitude for the game of football, a trait he no doubt inherited from his father, a longtime assistant coach and college football scout.
Belichick studied how his father dissected game film and drew up plays, and often accompanied him to coaches meetings. By his early teens, Belichick was a regular part of the team's practices, and was well-versed in the game's schemes and formations.
After graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Belichick enrolled at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he played lacrosse and finished with an undergraduate degree in economics.
Following his graduation from Wesleyan in 1975, Belichick took a job with the Baltimore Colts for $25 a week, serving as a sort of gopher for head coach Ted Marchibroda. From there, Belichick hooked on with a number of NFL teams, including the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos, as he attempted to climb the league's coaching ladder.
In 1979, Belichick was hired by the New York Giants to coach the team's special teams unit. Belichick ended up staying with the club for 12 seasons, eventually taking over as defensive coordinator under head coach Bill Parcells, who steered the franchise to a pair of Super Bowl victories.
Browns Tenure and Rejoining Parcells
After the Giants' second Super Bowl win in 1991, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell hired Belichick as his new head coach. Belichick's time in Cleveland proved rocky. Demanding of his players and hardly a friend to the media, Belichick had difficulty winning over the team's fans and its mercurial owner. Following the 1995 season and Modell's announcement that he was moving the franchise to Baltimore, Belichick was fired.
He quickly found work with his old mentor, Bill Parcells, who at the time was head coach of the New England Patriots. The pair worked in New England for the 1996 season—that same year, the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl, but lost to the Green Bay Packers. The following year, Belichick followed Parcells to the New York Jets, where Parcells had been hired as head coach.
Patriots Head Coach
In early 2000, Belichick got another shot to direct a franchise, when New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, named him head coach. While old Browns fans snickered at New England's decision to hire him, Belichick quickly demonstrated why Kraft had wanted him. Following a difficult 2000 season, the coach rode the young arm of quarterback Tom Brady, who'd stepped in early in the year for an injured Drew Bledsoe, and guided the Patriots in 2001 to a Super Bowl XXXVI victory against the heavily favored St. Louis Rams.
Belichick and the Patriots repeated the run two years later, winning Super Bowl XXXVIII. The team successfully defended its title the following season, winning Super Bowl XXXIX against Terrell Owens and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Belichick has been named "Coach of the Year" three times, in 2003, 2007 and 2010. In 2007 and 2011, he again steered the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl, where both times they lost to Eli Manning and the New York Giants. During the 2007 season, he became the first head coach to ever preside over a 16-0 regular season team.
The 2014 season brought more impressive accomplishments for Belichick, who tied NFL coaching records by leading the franchise to its sixth Super Bowl appearance and its fourth championship.
'Spygate' and 'Deflategate'
Not everything about Belichick's coaching career has sparkled. In 2007, it came to light that the Patriots had, over several years, secretly videotaped opposing coaches in order to learn their play-calling signals. The incident, which came to be known as "Spygate," resulted in Belichick being fined $500,000 by the league. The Patriots were fined an additional $250,000 and lost a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft.
More accusations of foul play came when it was revealed that New England had used underinflated footballs in the 2014 AFC title game, an episode that garnered the nickname "Deflategate," though Belichick denied any wrongdoing.
In 2016, Belichick led the Patriots to the AFC Championship, but the team lost to the Denver Broncos. The Patriots returned to Super Bowl LI in 2017, facing off against the Atlanta Falcons. In a thrilling game, the first to go into overtime in NFL history, Brady led the Patriots to 34-28 comeback victory, making Belichick the first head coach to win five Super Bowl rings and play in seven championships.
After suffering a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the big game the following year, New England again represented the AFC in Super Bowl LIII. Thanks to an airtight defensive scheme, the Patriots put the clamps on the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams for a 13-3 triumph, giving Belichick a remarkable sixth Super Bowl win as a head coach.
The Patriots followed by getting off to an impressive 8-0 start in 2019, before sputtering down the stretch and getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Tennessee Titans.
After nearly two decades of the Belichick-Brady partnership, the head coach found himself looking for a new quarterback when Brady announced that he had signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020.
Belichick was married to Debby Clarke for almost 30 years before their 2006 divorce. The pair has three children: Amanda, Stephen and Brian.
We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!