Credit where it's due? Bills coach clarifies remark about Belichick


Sean McDermott had no interest in praising Bill Belichick following the Buffalo Bills' loss to the New England Patriots in Week 13. But when the script flipped this Sunday, McDermott was quick to throw bouquets at the legendary head coach.

Speaking to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer after the Bills' 33-21 victory over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, McDermott followed up on telling reporters, "Let's not give more credit than we need to give Bill Belichick" the last time these teams met.

Curran: Josh Allen's Bills expose a hard truth in stomping of Pats

"I'll talk about that quote, first of all," he explained. "I know what I meant to say, and I have the utmost respect for Bill. And it was more about what I and our team didn’t do. And things sometimes take on a life of their own, I guess.

"But look, Bill Belichick makes me a better coach. He’s the standard. And so he just … he challenges even the opposite coach to continue to grow. It’s so hard to beat his team."

McDermott's backtracking isn't surprising, and he does have a track record of respect for Belichick: The two head coaches shared a longer-than-usual embrace last season after Buffalo routed New England 38-9.

It's also not surprising that McDermott was in a better mood after Sunday. After being demoralized by the Patriots earlier this month, his Bills answered the call with a statement win that vaulted them past Belichick's club into first place in the AFC East.


Sunday's victory also proved Buffalo isn't intimidated by the Patriots, which seemed to be the intent of McDermott's initial comments about Belichick. While New England has dominated the division for better part of two decades, the Bills have been the superior team since Tom Brady's 2020 departure, and McDermott wants his team to act like it.

McDermott is among many NFL head coaches who appreciate Belichick's greatness. But he's also one of the few whose team has successfully stood up to the AFC's bully.