As part of our Sports Uncovered series of in-depth narrative podcasts produced by NBC Sports, my distinguished colleagues at NBC Sports Boston put together a podcast called, “The Bill Belichick you Don’t Know.”
Turns out ol’ Bill has a sense of humor.
It’s actually a fascinating podcast, a look behind the grim facade at what NBC Sports Boston Patriots writer Tom Curran calls “the funny Bill Belichick, the playful Bill Belichick, the Bill Belichick who inspires fear, love, devotion and loyalty in those who’ve worked with or for him (that) we don’t see."
Well, let me tell you something about the Bill Belichick I do know.
Dude’s a cheater.
A relentless, incorrigible, clinical cheater.
And when he finally does hang up his clipboard that he probably stole from the Bills, nobody is going to be talking about the “playful Bill Belichick.”
They’re going to be talking about the six Super Bowls he won and wondering how many he stole.
Let’s review Belichick’s cheating history:
EaglesGate in 2005: In a 2015 Outside the Lines report, ESPN reported that the Eagles were convinced the Patriots either stole their playbook or secretly videotaped their practices prior to winning Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville.
SpyGate in 2007: Belichick was fined $500,000, the largest amount ever for an NFL coach, and the Patriots were fined $250,000 and stripped of a first-round draft pick after being caught breaking NFL regulations and videotaping the Jets’ sideline during a game and presumably stealing signs and relaying the information onto the field. According to that ESPN report, the Patriots videotaped opposing coaches 40 times between 2000 and 2007.
DeflateGate in 2014: The Colts accused the Patriots of deflating footballs during the AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady eventually wound up suspended for the first four games of 2016, and the Patriots were stripped of another first-round pick.
HeadsetGate in 2015: The Steelers accused the Patriots of orchestrating the headset malfunction that led to Steelers coaches hearing a radio station in their headsets instead of being able to communicate with each other and their players.
PeytonGate in 2015: As first reported in 2015 by NBC Sports' Peter King, then with Sports Illustrated, Peyton Manning was so suspicious of the Patriots bugging the visiting locker room when the Colts visited Gillette Stadium that he refused to talk strategy with any coaches or teammates while he was inside the locker room.
BengalsGate in 2019: Belichick has been accused of cheating so many times his scandals don’t even get nicknames anymore, but this was similar to Spygate, with the Patriots caught filming the Bengals’ sideline. They claimed it was an “oversight” and actually part of a show called “Do your Job.” Sure.
And these are just the times he got caught.
How can you not wonder what dastardly plot Belichick had going behind the scenes in Minneapolis that led to the Patriots piling up 613 yards on an Eagles defense that ranked third in the NFL in 2017?
Whatever he tried, it wasn’t enough.
But how many other instances have their been? All the cheating in the world wasn't going to stop Nick Foles.
But that’s the thing about Belichick. Even when he doesn’t have some untoward, underhanded, conniving scheme going, everybody is going to assume he does.
With his track record? How can you not?
Which is why no matter how many Super Bowls he wins, no matter how many records he breaks, he’ll always have that cloud over him, and it will follow him to Canton when he enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It’s a shame, too, because Belichick is a heck of a football coach. But his legacy will always be tarnished.
The guy is unscrupulous and everybody knows it, and he’s been doing it for two decades.
Barry Bonds has nothing on Bill Belichick. Ben Johnson doesn't either.
Same with Tonya Harding, Rosie Ruiz and Lance Armstrong.
He may be the greatest coach of all time, but there’s no question he’s the greatest cheater of all time.
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