Coach betrays fatherâ€™s legacy By Peter Gelzinis | Friday, September 14, 2007 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Columnists The NFL boss, Roger Goodell, may be infuriated with him. New England Patriots boss, Robert Kraft, may be disappointed in him. But perhaps the only opinion that means anything to Bill Belichick is the one he will never hear. What would Steve Belichick say about his sonâ€™s fall from grace? For more than three decades, Steve Belichick was the beloved assistant football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. But beyond that, he was the father who imparted all that he knew and loved about the game to the boy who would grow to be seen not merely as a great football coach, but a true gridiron genius. Last fall, at the age of 86, Steve Belichick passed away in what his son described as a perfect ending. â€śHe did what he enjoyed doing,â€ť Bill said of his dadâ€™s final hours. â€śHe went and watched Navy play, watched them win. And like he normally does on Saturday night, he sat around watching college football and his heart just stopped beating.â€ť In all the tributes that followed, Steve Belichick was remembered by former players like Roger Staubach and Framinghamâ€™s Joe Bellino as a fierce, often crusty taskmaster, whose shrewdly competitive nature was exceeded only by the size of his heart. By all accounts, Bill Belichick absorbed the gifts his father, handed down on the practice field at Annapolis. Itâ€™s been said that by the time he was 9, young Belichick was deconstructing game films with a surgeonâ€™s eye. But studying game film is not exactly the same as sanctioning a spy video. Would the old football strategist - who spent the bulk of his coaching life at a campus where honor was everything - have approved of his boyâ€™s sneaky play? More to the point, would Steve Belichick have been swayed by the simpering excuse that â€śeveryone does it.â€ť At the altitude where Bill Belichick has become an icon, the virtues of sport are routinely corrupted and/or exploited by the pressures and temptations of big business. Winning players make millions in salary and millions more in endorsements. While winning coaches like Belichick may not pocket superstar millions, they more than make up for the shortfall by telling CEOs how to inspire their corporate â€śteamsâ€ť toward a sales Super Bowl - for a handsome six-figure fee. What 33 years of coaching at the Naval Academy gave Steve Belichick were pride, great memories and a good life. He did not need a beer distributorship, or free loaner cars, or a weekly radio show. Thereâ€™s no doubt that Bill Belichick inherited his desire to win from his father. But when you look back over this touching father and son story, thereâ€™s no mention of winning at all costs. Obviously, what makes the transgression even stranger is that the junior Belichick didnâ€™t need the extra eye. Not this year, certainly. What would his father have given to have all the weapons now at his sonâ€™s command? If you canâ€™t coach such a dream team to victory, without the aid of an illegal recon camera, what kind of coach are you? No matter what punishment Roger Goodell hands down, no matter how heavy a fine Belichick will have to cough up, the truth is if the Patriots fulfill their manifest destiny this year, Bill Belichick will find himself riding a Duck Boat once again down Boylston Street in five months. The overwhelming majority of Pats fans wonâ€™t give a bleep if the rest of the country looks at us the way we look at the Yankees. Winning another Super Bowl will make hypocrites of a great many of us. But this year, we will have some idea whatâ€™s behind that morose Belichick mask. It is a simple question: What would Dad think?.