What Bill Belichick told Michael Holley before Super Bowl 36


The New England Patriots' dynasty officially kicked off almost 19 years ago with an improbable victory over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36.

The Patriots were 14-point underdogs vs. Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and "The Greatest Show on Turf." At the time, Tom Brady was nothing more than an inexperienced game-manager of a quarterback, and New England simply didn't appear to have enough firepower to keep up with the Rams' record-breaking offense.

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Before the matchup, Michael Holley wanted to write a column about how the Patriots could pull off the upset, but he simply couldn't picture it happening. That's when Belichick entered the picture.

On the "Huddle and Flow" podcast, Holley recalled a meeting with Belichick during Super Bowl week in which the Pats head coach convinced him that the upset was possible.

"Bill Belichick says, 'Come to my room.' This is like the day before the game, maybe it's like a Friday. ... I'm like, 'Man, I want to write how you guys are going to beat the Rams, but I can't do that.' He goes, 'Why can't you?' I said, 'I can't make the case.' ...

"He says, 'I know you cover the NBA. This is taking a fastbreak team and turning it into a half-court game. They have more talent than us, they're faster than us, they cannot beat us in half-court basketball. That's what the game's going to be. We're going to hold them, we're going to slow them down, we're going to hit them.' He said, 'Go look at their turnovers. Everybody keeps talking about their offense, they turn the ball over a lot. They'll give us a couple of turnovers.'


"Then he said, 'Hey, stop focusing on Kurt Warner. Kurt Warner is not the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams. The quarterback of the St. Louis Rams is Marshall Faulk. You know where Marshall Faulk is going, that's their whole offense.'"

Watch the full clip below:

Pretty awesome.

Sure enough, Belichick's gameplan worked to perfection. The Patriots successfully slowed down the Rams offense, limiting Faulk to 76 yards on 17 carries and picking off Warner twice. Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal, and the rest is history.