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BB brings the media in a meeting room, show them '40s tape of Steve

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  1. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/reiss_pieces/

    December 23, 2005
    History lesson
    Posted By: mreiss | Time: 01:17:51 PM

    Bill Belichick changed his regular routine today, and instead of holding a press conference, he invited the media into one of the Patriots’ meeting rooms.

    There, he showed some old footage from the Great Lakes football team of the early 1940s, as well as footage from his father’s first professional game with the Detroit Lions in 1941.

    As he showed the film, Belichick's passion for football -- and its history -- was evident. There are rare times when he lets his guard down and today was one of those days.

    About 20 media members were present as the film rolled in a room where large color action pictures of current players hang on the walls. The pictures were fresh -- there was already one from Saturday's win over Tampa Bay -- but the footage was vintage.

    While showing the black-and-white film, which was cued up on a nearby computer, Belichick held a clicker and pointed to certain players and formations.

    One Great Lakes player who Belichick kept referring to was Bruce Smith. Noting that players played both offense and defense, Belichick said Smith was one of the great stars from that era. After Smith scored a touchdown on a long run, Belichick said: “That gave them a 6-0 lead at that point, which in those days was like a 1-0 lead in soccer today.â€

    He also illustrated how plays have evolved, showing a jump pass, with a player running toward the line of scrimmage, then jumping as he threw the ball to another player. Belichick pointed out the difference in formations (the single wing was prominent) and how the quarterback often didn’t get snapped the ball. Another position, the center, rarely blocked.

    After the Great Lakes footage, Belichick shared a story of how his father, Steve, was working for the Detroit Lions in 1941 in the equipment room. At the time, the coach felt Steve Belichick was better than the punt returner the team had, so he was suited up for action. On the film, Belichick showed his father running a punt back for a touchdown against the Packers.

    In that same game, Belichick showed how Green Bay’s Don Hutson ran pass routes, and credited Hutson as the first true receiver in the game. He showed shots of the sidelines, noting that all players were sitting on the bench and only the coach was standing near the sideline. “When they said someone was a benchwarmer, they really meant it,†he joked.

    After the film, Belichick answered some questions on the history of the game. From the tape he showed, it was clear the game required a different type of athlete, and the rules dictated a different approach than today. There was little passing in those days, which made the quarterback position unique.

    “A guy like Johnny Unitas, he could have never played [in the 1940s]. He couldn’t run. You take a player like Billy Wade, who my dad coached at Vanderbilt, he was a single-wing tailback. He went to the Bears and they made him a quarterback. … Tom [Brady], he couldn’t play [in that era]. Michael Vick would be awesome in that offense. … You’re looking at guys who can punt, run, pass. That’s the order. If you couldn’t punt, you have to play somewhere else. You have to be a wingback, an end. Punt, run, pass -- that was the priority.â€

    Belichick was candid when asked why the option offense wouldn’t work in today’s NFL.

    “The way we’ve always coached the option in the league is to [defend] the pitch and let the quarterback take it, then kill the quarterback,†he said. “Let them run it all they want to run it. Lou Holtz tried to come up and run it with the Jets, with Richard Todd, in ’76. But you just don’t have enough quarterbacks. Even the college quarterbacks that run, those guys take a beating too. Even if they pitch the ball a lot of times, they get nailed.â€

    Belichick also revealed that he recently spent time with Navy, because he has great respect for their running game. His idea was to study how their running game works and hopefully apply some of that to his current team. But he said he quickly learned that couldn’t happen, because almost all of Navy’s running plays involve the quarterback.

    EXTRA POINTS: The Patriots practiced outside in the stadium today … The team had full attendance for the media access portion of practice … The media was present for stretching … Linebacker Tedy Bruschi drew the largest media crowd in the locker room … The Patriots will travel to New York on Sunday, but altered their regular routine to leave later in the day.

    +++

    Looking ahead, we’ll plan on posting our next update Saturday afternoon.

    --Mike
     
  2. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    That's awesome.
     
  3. kptmorgan04

    kptmorgan04 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    cool stuff, that you wouldnt get with most other coaches in the league. maybe it was a little christmas present to the media from BB
     
  4. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice article, Mike Reiss is becoming the best Pats writer if he already isn't.
     
  5. Bill's Girl

    Bill's Girl Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    BB does stuff like that every now and then. It must have been great for him to be able to show tape of his dad playing! Have I mentioned lately that I love this guy!!

    Merry Christmas Coach!!
     
  6. Richter

    Richter In the Starting Line-Up

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    I would pay money to read articles like this regularly, that's how good it is. Real journalism and reporting, and a little storytelling thrown in for good measure. Not to mention a free history lesson and some insight into how the best coach in the game plans and prepares. Awesome work by Reiss.
     
  7. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree -- Bill at his best!
     
  8. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mike Reiss :cool3:
     
  9. AStack75

    AStack75 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Bump. Good read.
     
  10. alamo

    alamo praedica numerum! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You can see about 2 minutes of BB's actual briefing if you have Comcast digital, in the PVN OnDemand entry for today (under NFL Network in the menus). You see him show a jump pass (really a lateral), his fathers's punt return, and an odd play where the center snaps to the QB (in the shotgun, at least I think it was the QB) who hands it forward to the left guard who then laterals it backward to a running back. The whole segment is only about 5 minutes, though.
     
  11. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There's also a tiny bit on Patriots Today.

    http://www.patriots.com/mediacenter/index.cfm?ac=todaydetail&pid=14678&pcid=111

    Oh -- and a nice, self-deprecating BB joke when he sees his Dad's touch-down run-back.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2005
  12. Roxbury Jay

    Roxbury Jay Rookie

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    Even more info here. Pretty cool stuff. Is there a better combo out there than Reiss and Solomon?

    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2005/12/24/film_captures_fathers_glory/

    Film captures father's glory
    Belichick revisits NFL in '41
    By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | December 24, 2005

    FOXBOROUGH -- Bill Belichick may be the best at what he does in the 21st-century NFL, but there is a certain twinkle in his eye reserved for the leather-helmet days of the old National Football League.

    Leather helmets like the circa 1940s one the Patriots coach whipped out yesterday to show the small media contingent gathered for his final press conference before Monday night's game against the Jets.

    Besides the old helmet, Belichick had with him a pair of roughed-up, high-top Spot-Bilt shoes that his father Steve wore in his playing days.

    Perhaps they were the ones the elder Belichick, who died Nov. 19, was wearing when he ripped off a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers Oct. 26, 1941.

    It was the lone score that day for the Detroit Lions in a 24-7 loss, and it came in the first professional game for Steve Belichick, in his only season in the NFL.

    It was the sixth game of the season for the Lions. For the five previous contests, Steve Belichick was the equipment manager. On this day, six weeks before the ''date which will live in infamy," he was a fullback making cuts past would-be tacklers along the left sideline that Michael Vick would be proud to make, on the only punt return of his career. Two weeks later, Belichick scored two rushing touchdowns against the Giants.

    The pride and admiration of Bill Belichick was certainly evident as he played film clips from the Packer game, though he admitted to never having the type of moves his father displayed on the long return.

    ''Those genes ended up somewhere else," joked Belichick, who earned three letters as a center and tight end for Wesleyan.

    Belichick got an undiluted dose of the football coaching gene, however, and that is never more evident than when he is breaking down game film, something his father taught him at an early age.

    It's as if Steve Belichick is in the Patriots film room at Gillette Stadium, and not just on the screen blocking for Byron ''Whizzer" White -- already a Rhodes Scholar, but two decades from being named a Supreme Court Justice -- in the Lions' classic single-wing offense.

    His son virtually beams when he rewinds the film and puts the laser pointer on the Packers pulling trio of blockers, which in that offense included the so-called quarterback, who is more Stephen Neal than Tom Brady. It's an embryonic version of the Packer sweep made famous years later under Vince Lombardi, according to Belichick.

    The names roll off the tongue as it does to all who have studied the legendary play.

    ''There! That's Jerry Kramer. That's [Fuzzy] Thurston. That's [Jim] Taylor or [Paul] Hornung," Belichick said, as he pointed out players on Curly Lambeau's Packers, who filled the roles of the aforementioned names 25 years later when Lombardi led the team

    Belichick also revels in the plays that have White and the Packers Don Hutson matched up on pass routes. In those days, games were hyped as matchups between players like White, nicknamed Whizzer because of the way he used to whiz by defenders, and Hutson, the first receiver in the league to run pass patterns and a Belichick favorite.

    With players playing both ways, a Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchup would indeed be just that. Well it would be if the two were better athletes. In that day the best athlete, and primary ballhandler was the halfback, who was part punter, part runner, and part passer. Pocket quarterbacks didn't exist. Belichick, by the way, thinks Vick would be ''awesome" in the single wing.

    ''Tom [Brady] . . . he couldn't play," Belichick said. ''Johnny Unitas could have never played then. He couldn't run."

    And run is what the players on the film did as Belichick admired the style and trickery of the series of deft, sleight-of-hand plays that make today's reverses look rather simplistic. He stopped the film to spotlight the Notre Dame ''box," the ''spinner series," and the clever guard option pitch, which he joked would be a little difficult for the likes of Neal and Logan Mankins to pull off.

    As if dusting off the '41 Lions isn't a deep enough trip into the vault, Belichick started the session with clips of his father blocking for tailback Bruce Smith, the 1941 Heisman Trophy winner out of Minnesota.

    Steve Belichick and Smith were members of the service team at the Naval Station at Great Lakes, Ill., in 1942. That all-star squad, assembled mostly as a recruiting tool for the service, posted an 8-3-1 record that season, playing the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois. The Bluejackets tied the Fighting Irish, 13-13, and were blanked, 9-0, by the Wolverines, but shut out the Hawkeyes (25-0) and Fighting Illini (6-0).

    A 6-0 lead in those days is like a 1-0 lead in soccer, Belichick cracked.

    It was a different game. A different world.

    Bill Belichick was more than 10 years from being born, but yesterday, and any day he gets lost in the historic footage . . . he was there.

    For an hour, at least, quarterback Brooks Bollinger and the New York Jets, next on the Patriots schedule, would have to take a back seat to history.
     
  13. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I like how Solomon is turning out and I loved the interplay between him and Mike in their chat. Of course, there is reason to believe Solomon's improvement is the result of a Josh Miller intervention.
     
  14. Krugman

    Krugman Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #87 Jersey

    Nice post,very interesting....
     

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