Bill Belichick has enjoyed unprecedented success as head coach of the New England Patriots for the last two decades, leading his team to six Super Bowl titles in nine appearances over that span.
It's the kind of success Belichick's fellow Boston coaches can only dream of accomplishing. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy can't help but marvel at the 67-year-old's ability to get his teams to buy in each and every season.
The trio appeared on "Dale & Keefe" as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Wednesday to discuss what makes Belichick and the Patriots so great.
Stevens led off by talking about Belichick's squad seemingly always being on the same page.
“The thing that stands out when you go over and watch the Patriots do workouts and sit in meetings and sit in film is they are on one page. They are in one direction. His message, although has thousands of complexities within each scheme defensively and offensively, his message is concise. It’s ultimately not only well delivered, but well received. You can tell that thing is a juggernaut. That is a train moving in one direction. They know what they need to do to be successful. I don’t think it’s brain surgery the way that I have seen it from up and close and afar is they don’t beat themselves. There are a lot of things in a football game that ultimately lead to that and they are the best at them.”
Cassidy noted the culture that has been established in Foxboro since the day Belichick took over as Patriots head coach.
“He has a 53 minimum players and then the practice squad and we’re dealing with 12-22, so a little bit easier for us to probably work our way around the room and get our message individually 1-on-1. The Patriots have been the best at establishing culture — this is the way we’re doing it. We’re going to get it right and if you’re not on board that is fine, we’ll get someone else. It’s worked for them very well.
"Credit to Bill and credit to ownership. It starts at the top and the players have bought into that direction. We have it with (Patrice) Bergeron and (Zdeno) Chara. We’re very lucky. I am one of the most fortunate guys in the National Hockey League to coach true pros like that. Coming in at a young age I appreciate that. I am sure Brad has his guys that he leans on and Alex the same. Everyone is blessed or not of establishing that culture and have guys that will follow it. He’s done a great job — him and Tom (Brady) obviously, the two faces of the franchise. It has been terrific."
Cora raved about the Patriots' discipline and noted that on the rare occasion they do lose, it usually isn't due to silly mistakes.
“For me it is the preparation and the way they go about it on Sundays. It’s just like, ‘We’re going to play this way and if you beat us, you beat us. We didn’t beat ourselves.’ You can go back to yesterday -- man on second no outs and we had a mistake running the bases. That’s on us. We were undisciplined on that play and probably cost us the game. With them, I have been watching this team for 5-6 years, it’s like, 'Wow' at how precise they are. It’s almost perfect. When they lose a game it’s not because they were sloppy or undisciplined, it’s just the other team that Sunday was just better than (them).”
Cora, Stevens, and Cassidy have done a fine job with their respective teams, but there's no doubt Belichick has set the standard high for them and everyone else who coaches one of Boston's storied franchises.
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