Patriots

Ever Wonder Series: Why does Bill Belichick cut his sleeves?

Ever Wonder Series: Why does Bill Belichick cut his sleeves?

It’s a sideline, not a fashion runway. Just the same, plenty of football coaches — because of success, longevity and camera time — have seen their wardrobe choices become iconic.

Bear Bryant and his houndstooth hat. The fedoras of Tom Landry and Paul Brown. Bum Phillips and his Stetson. 

But none of that headgear surpasses the most iconic piece of attire in football sideline history: Bill Belichick’s hooded sweatshirt. 

Pocket in the front for keeping pencils and cold hands. Hood on the back for flipping up when the weather gets cold or clammy. Or when Bill just wants to go stealth. 

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Belichick himself might say, “We’re coaching a football game here, what are we even talking about?” Well, yes. And no. Because this piece of clothing actually represents the football philosophy Belichick’s espoused en route to nine Super Bowl appearances in 20 seasons. 

Pragmatic. Utilitarian. No frills. Designed to allow one to work as efficiently as possible toward the singular goal of winning. 

But do you ever wonder why he cuts the sleeves off?

I mean, it’s a move that takes an already schlubby look and makes it even schlubbier. 

Did he just look at the sweatshirt one day and say, “This thing needs shorter sleeves?”

Pretty much. 

In the fall of 2005, Belichick walked into the team’s equipment room and asked the late Don Brocher for a pair of scissors. They were produced. 

Belichick laid the gray sweatshirt on a table — it wasn’t a hoodie, by the way — and lopped off both arms just below the elbow. 

Why you doing that? He was asked. 

“My arms are too short,” he replied. 

Did he want the sweatshirts made differently?

“No.”

Belichick would be his own tailor.

Some of you might remember the itty-bitty arms explanation. It was offered to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! back in 2012. It was offered to his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, when she interviewed him as a host for StyleBoston.

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But the history of Belichick’s hoodies and sweatshirts, the sleeve-ectomies and actually, every wardrobe choice he’s made as head coach of the Patriots? It’s all been compiled by a man named Mike Dussault who works for Patriots.com and previously worked for Pats Propaganda and Bleacher Report. 

The eagle-eyed Dussault notes that Belichick was driven to distraction by his sleeves in the Patriots Super Bowl 39 win over the Eagles. Belichick was just fiddling and tugging and tucking until finally he rolled them up inside themselves which is how they were when that game ended and Belichick thrust a stubby arm into the air.  

The next season, he took action. Belichick wore a sweatshirt with abbreviated sleeves for an October 2 game against the Chargers. 

Now, Belichick had once worn a chopped-up sweatshirt in the sidelines. On the road in Houston in 2003, he wore one in a 23-20 overtime win. 

But in 2005, he went all-in. And he immediately went 0-3 with the sleeves cut according to Dussault’s amazing research which is all found in spreadsheet form online. The spreadsheet was created by a man named Bob Yoon who, notably, knows why Belichick cuts the sleeves. 

What’s Belichick’s record with cut sleeves on either hoodies or plain sweatshirts? Not good, Bob. It’s 65-26. Which, relative to his overall coaching record, is subpar. 

Belichick lost all three Super Bowls he coached with cut sleeves. He’s 1-2 in Conference Championships with cut sleeves. And from 2005 through 2012, every single Patriots playoff loss came when Belichick was wearing a hoodie with cut sleeves. 

Makes you wonder. But wonder no more about why the sleeves were cut in the first place!

Former Patriots exec thinks Cam Newton addition was a 'no-brainer' move

Former Patriots exec thinks Cam Newton addition was a 'no-brainer' move

The New England Patriots lost the best quarterback of all-time in free agency when Tom Brady took his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Replacing him is an impossible task, but the addition of Cam Newton should give the Patriots a tremendous chance to remain competitive in the 2020 NFL season.

The veteran quarterback reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the Pats that pays him just $550,000 guaranteed and could be worth up to $7.5 million if all incentives in the deal are met.

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Michael Lombardi is a former league executive who's worked with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during his time in New England and with the Cleveland Browns. On the latest episode of Lombardi's "The GM Shuffle" podcast, he explained why bringing in Newton was a "no-brainer" for Belichick.

“You talk about 2015, granted that was the MVP season, but if you really study '18 and really examine those eight games in 2018 -- the last time he won was Nov. 4, 2018 against the Buccaneers -- he was sensational,” Lombardi said. “Here's what you're going to get with Cam Newton: You're going to get a guaranteed 3,600 yards passing. You're going to get 600 yards, minimum, rushing. You're going to get over seven yards per pass attempt. And you're going to get a low percentage of interceptions

"In 2018, he threw 15 touchdown passes and four interceptions before the shoulder injury. He was averaging 7.2 yards per attempt. He was electrifying. He only was sacked 12 times in those eight games, which was really low for the Carolina Panthers with their offensive line. So book those numbers and then add in the Josh McDaniels factor, add in the Patriots factor, and you’re probably looking at 4,200 yards passing, you’re probably looking at 750 rushing, and you're looking at 7.3 or 7.4 yards per attempt. If he stays healthy, he’s going to get Comeback Player of the Year. This was a no-brainer for the Patriots to do it."

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The money alone makes the deal an easy one for the Patriots. New England has almost no salary cap space, so to get a player of Newton's caliber for so little money easily is worth the gamble. 

Newton, if healthy, is still a fantastic quarterback capable of exposing defenses with his arm and his legs. The worry is Newton's durability. He's 31 years old and coming off a 2019 season during which he missed the Carolina Panthers' last 14 games due to injuries. 

So, there's some risk in adding Newton to the roster, but there's no doubt he'll be extremely motivated to shut up his critics and earn another huge payday next offseason. From a motivation and team need perspective, Newton and the Patriots have the potential to be a great partnership.

Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton might get paid like a backup NFL quarterback in New England -- and he could care less.

The three-time Pro Bowler and 2015 NFL MVP reportedly signed a meager contract with the Patriots on Sunday that includes a $1.05 million base salary and just $550,000 in guaranteed money.

But in an Instagram post Thursday, Newton insisted he's not concerned about his light paycheck.

"This is not about money for me; It's about respect," Newton wrote in the caption, which included the hashtag #ImBettingItAllOnMe.

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Newton was an elite QB before shoulder and foot injuries derailed his career, forcing him to miss a total of 16 games between 2018 and 2019. Those injuries led the Carolina Panthers to release Newton in March and seemingly scared away 30 other teams that viewed the 31-year-old as damaged goods.

But Newton has a great opportunity to revive his career in New England, where he can help the Patriots continue their success in the post-Tom Brady era if he's able to stay healthy.

By regaining that respect, Newton also can help himself get paid: His contract reportedly doesn't prevent New England from franchise tagging him in 2021, which would vault the QB's salary well north of $20 million.

Newton made more than $121 million during his nine seasons in Carolina, so it appears he was willing to take a bargain deal with the Patriots if it meant showing the NFL he can still bring it.