Winning a championship is an experience New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had gone through seven times before his team beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII last month, but you never would have guessed that judging by his post-game interactions with players and coaches.
The 2018 season, even though it ended in triumph, was a difficult one for the Patriots in many respects. They failed to win 12-plus games for the first time since 2009, they struggled on the road and injuries/suspensions created tough challenges.
This adversity is among the reasons why, as Belichick notes during a recent interview on SiriusXM Radio, it looked like the Patriots' coach had won the Super Bowl for the first time after the clock expired at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
"Every year is different. Each team is different," Belichick said. "The chemistry and what you expect to go through and the experience as a team makes each year unique. And even though the results were similar to what they've been before in some other special years, this one was just a little bit different.
"You know, we started off 1-2. We were 3-5 on the road, and there were just things along the way that didn't go the way that we hoped they would go. Some negativity and people counting us out, and talking about how bad we were and everything. Bad coaching, bad playing, bad everything. And then, at a point there at the end of the season, we were able to kind of play our best football in the most critical games at the most critical times in those games. And a lot of our execution was, I would say, the very best that it was all season, in some cases by quite a bit. It was very special and fulfilling for it to come together like that in spite of the adversity and other opinions.
"But there was a lot of internal belief in ourselves and the process of what we were doing. Fortunately, we were able to see those results manifest themselves in some critical games at critical times. I think that, kind of, the jubilation when all that culminated in Atlanta was what you saw there from all of us."
Belichick's latest Super Bowl performance was one of his best. His defense held a high-powered Rams offense to just three points.
The Patriots' next challenge is to repeat as champions -- something no NFL team has accomplished since Belichick's squad did it in 2004. After a tough start to the offseason, Belichick has his work cut out for him entering the 2019 campaign.
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