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Understanding the negativity towards Belichick by media and fans

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Isaac, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Isaac

    Isaac Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    First off let me say that I have the utmost respect for this board and most of the posters---this isn’t about you. And I’m not at all saying that a fan shouldn’t disagree with the moves of our coach and front office, not at all. I’m here to ponder/discuss the widespread negativity towards BB that has been tossed around here and in the media over the past month, and really has been since he’s arrived.

    If any true Patriots fan were asked the day after Pete Carroll were fired what would become of a coach that brought 3 super bowls to our long-suffering franchise, wouldn’t the obvious answer have been that he’d be a hero forever? I mean, why are we fans if we don’t dream of winning it all? Back then if someone even suggested that we’d win not only one, but three, my goodness. And we are now living the dream and those of us with a sense of reality have a deep appreciation and respect for our coach (still arguing, debating, and disagreeing on their moves) and will continue to do so whether or not they win another ever again (though of course another would be damn sweet). They have given us what every fan dreams of and so many never will experience. And yet we are left scratching our heads as to how BB is showered by general negativity by our own media (including several at PFW) and fans (you know the types of threads I am referring to).

    I believe there are two hypotheses to explain the situation (I’d appreciate hearing others):
    1) Boston media and fans are just innately ornery, they just can’t help but to be negative. (Note that I’m not just talking about Borges and Felger here, those two are just low-lifes with a WWF mentality who think that they can make a career out of stirring the pot.)
    2) People just don’t get BB.

    I think it is the latter and I think the misunderstanding of BB is deep. I’d like to argue that the system being implemented by BB is counter to the worldview of many media members and fans such that they are either forced to change their worldview (near impossible) or adopt this negative attitude. Again please don’t misinterpret me here, I’m not talking about the intelligent and informed debate that is the pride of this board.

    So, here is a list of misconceptions that people have about BB and his system (in no particular order). I look forward to your discussion/input/additions. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some obvious major ones too.

    <--see next message-->
     
  2. Isaac

    Isaac Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    1) Misconception: we need more stars to win. BB’s system: Build the middle class, have the best 45/53/61+ players in the league, three “B-level†players are better than an “A†and two “D’sâ€.

    This is the fantasy football culture and the reason that Indy is the media darling. These are the fans that think Paul Maguire is a great analyst and apparently never tire of the ESPN crew droning on about two players for 3 hours. It’s also a reason that widespread injuries haven’t prevented each of our championships.

    2) Misconception: the Patriots are cheap. BB’s system: spend all the cap but never exceed the value of a single player.

    This misconception is the one that really drives us crazy because it’s nonsensical, the Patriots spend just as much as any team (and more than many), yet this is still a widespread misconception. The fact of the matter is that if you want to have the best talent and spend the same money, mathematically you’ve got to find ways to have a higher ratio of talent per dollar than everyone else. BB does this by sticking to value.

    3) Misconception: why aren’t we signing anyone?!? BB’s system: the process of finding players is year-long, never panic, wait for the right players to come along at the right value (and then do the best with what you’ve got).

    We all love free agent signings and are eager to land the big fish. However, among fans that misunderstand BB this is a major cause of negativity and frustration. A corollary to this is “they better have a plan.†They don’t have a specific plan folks, it’s not like they are thinking “we’ll get Javon Walker so we don’t need David Givens.†It’s a process, and it’s a slow and patient one. The risk is that yes, they may go into the season without a “#2†receiver, but that seldom happens in reality (e.g., Ted Washington trade) and it’s worth the benefit of always getting value. It’s not like teams don’t always deal with holes due to injuries anyway, by the way, so there is no perfect “planâ€.

    4) Misconception: draft talent (as long as the guy has “characterâ€, which equals no rap sheet). BB’s system: draft players that fit the system, have the talent to do their jobs in the system, and fit the mould of our player: top-level football smarts, energy and enthusiasm to sit through endless meetings and film study (“football is important to himâ€), willing to play specified techniques within a team defense/offense/teams (my goodness, no free-lancing), mental and physical toughness to endure and peak in January.

    Every year the Patriots surprise us by picking someone no one expects, but then we read their NFL profile and see that they were a team captain, did great things in their community, have impeccable technique, etcetera. The Patriots draft board is very small. “Character†in BB’s system is far more than whether or not someone got a DWI once or something (though a truly bad rap sheet certainly crosses them off the list).

    5) Misconception: BB is boring in interviews and press conferences. BB: give me a decent question I’ll give you an honest and thorough answer.

    I believe that this larger subject, people misunderstanding BB, is a big reason that he is perceived as boring. Many of the questions he gets are ultimately coming from this opposite worldview and thus don’t have a good answer (and many are just stupid, e.g., asking about injuries). It’s hard to converse when you don’t have the same worldview. But give him a decent question and he will share his thoughts, and that is something mighty. After all, this is among the great football minds and historians of our time. It’s a true shame that the media isn’t constantly mining BB’s mind instead of pestering him with their nonsense.

    6) Misconception: BB’s players are boring in interviews and press conferences. BB’s system: yes, he does restrict some of the comments of his players for competitive reasons (injuries, disrespecting opponents), but actually most of his players just get it, so see #5 and ask them a decent question. Also---he does keep plenty of stuff within the team and I have no problem with that.

    7) Misconception: BB is ridiculous for hiding injuries. BB’s system: his mantra is to do what is best for the team, in his opinion dispensing injury information beyond the requirement puts his team at a competitive disadvantage and puts the safety of my players in jeopardy.

    Get over it people. BB obviously thinks this. (I for one don’t disagree but even if you do, it’s time to move on.) Don’t forget that football is a violent sport played by violent men. BB is the coach of this team and he’s not going to send his players into the violence with their opponents knowing a shred more than they have to---why do people begrudge this? I loved it when he shooed away the Pittsburgh trainers that one time. Tom Brady, probable, right shoulder (yes, BB does have a wry sense of humor).

    8) Misconception: BB is not emotional. Reality: This is just offensive BS.

    The reason he doesn’t parade around the sidelines like Bill Cowher (I don’t mind coaches that do that by the way) is because he is too busy thinking. Those that misunderstand BB I suppose wouldn’t have an idea what he could be thinking about, I for one am perfectly happy he’s thinking more than the other guy. BB is a private man, don’t deny his humanity just because he doesn’t fit your worldview of an “emotional†coach.

    9) Misconception: BB is arrogant. Reality: More offensive BS.

    This one is just stupid but it’s out there. People’s worldview is so disabling to their ability to understand BB that they actually have suggested that he’s trying to prove something this year by winning with less talent. My goodness, the man has nothing left to prove! He has five rings, is a shoe-in for Canton, open your eyes people! Another one along these lines is that he needs to win one more to “prove†himself, please.

    10) Misconception: BB doesn’t care what people think about him. Reality: (paraphrase from NFL films interview) “There are two things a person has in this world, his name and his reputation.†-BB.

    He absolutely cares, in fact it’s paramount to him. That’s why Peter Jackson got the legendary FU. He’s just not going to bother defending himself in the media against this storm of ignorance (why should he), yet people misinterpret that as not caring. It’s a testament to his willingness to put the team above himself that he doesn’t lash out at all the misconceptions in the media.

    11) Misconception: BB failed in Cleveland. Reality: The Browns were building slowly towards excellence and then it was derailed by the move. Yes, he did piss off the fans and local media, but do you really think they wouldn’t have started to love him if he had started winning?

    Recall the team that beat the Pats in that playoff game in ’94---they were awesome to watch, swarming to the ball, couldn’t run on them, duel running attack. With the coaching and personnel staff they had, if it hadn’t been for the move that shattered the team, they could have been destined for greatness. We’ll never know but it should never be considered a mark against BB, quite the opposite.

    12) Misconception: Parcells never won without BB. Reality: Um, okay, this one is true. ;)

    I grew up a Giants fan and that team was all about defense (don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s got 3 rings, he’s earned 5). BB came to the Patriots in ’96 and the effect on the defense was obvious late in the year (recall that the offense was stuttering throughout that winning streak). Of course BB shouldn’t get too much credit when he was just defensive coordinate/asst. head coach, but if the shoe fits…

    13) Misconception: Could he win without Brady? Reality: Great coaches have great players, that’s how it works, unless they learn to tackle.

    Attempting to separate the coaches from the players (from the scouts) just doesn’t make any sense, it’s a collective effort, that’s the beauty of it. He got two rings with LT too.

    14) Misconception: 2005 was a down year, therefore BB's system isn't working. Reality: they lost a playoff game, it happens.

    This is a game and the other teams are damn good. They didn't lose that game because they traded for Starks or any such holes in the armor, they just lost.
    ____________
    So, what can we do about these misconceptions? I like to think that someday people will be able to change their worldviews and come to understand BB, but that’s hard to imagine. ESPN and much of the media constantly drum in the anti-BB worldview, maybe people will never understand. The shame is that BB has a brilliant and multi-layered system, part of which is being adopted across the NFL (and some is just old school), yet many aren’t even aware of it (they just think he's a "great coach"). I will say this, if anyone has a chance to spread some understanding, it’s the folks on this board. People do seem to listen, let’s keep up the struggle.
     
  3. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Great Post

    Isaac,

    May I extend the courtesy of saying Welcome Aboard!

    This was a great, great piece of analysis and writing. Halberstam wrote a book on the suubject and didn't do as through a job of analyzing the "Making of a Coach" in his several hundred pages.

    Thanks,

    And keep posting your thoughtful insights. I'd like to quote some of your points if you don't mind.
     
  4. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    re

    Isaac, great post. I thought the analysis was right on, and I completely agree.

    Belichick is maybe the most objective, intelligent, thick-skinned coach in the league. Everything he does is about winning championships, even if people hate him for his moves. Contrary to being arrogant, I think he's successful because he's actually ego-less in his approach to winning.

    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2006
  5. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :singing: We shall overcome... :singing:
     
  6. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    As the free agency period of the new football season wears on I think the first glimmers of the "plan" such that it is possible to definr one is becoming clearer.

    Belichcik is Team building and getting younger and faster. Nothing new, but this is the 2006 offfseason edition of this long running script. The question is where they are directing their efforts.

    Bill and Scott were determined to get younger and more talented at the LB position. They have taken terrible losses there in the last 12 months. Phifer got too old and lost it. Tedy had an unforseeable stroke, TJ had to quit because of recurrent concussions. Chad Brown proved to be only a minor help and was let go. Willie was showing the first signs of age.

    There is little direct evidence for this surmise, save that they allowed Willie McGinnest to leave in Free Agency. They also allowed Matt Chatham to leave in Free Agency. And the cut Chad Brown and do not seem to be trying to resign him.

    That has created three and maybe more openings in that one squad alone.

    It his fortunate that this appears to be a great draft harvest of LBs that can play in the Belichick Defense; not all do. I'm reading tea leaves here but I think several LBs will be added this April. It is the Belichick style not to depend on a single player when he can hedge his bets with several and from several sources. He has a couple of younger vets on the squad who might move up for instance in TBC, Biesel and Claridge.

    I also detect a desire to rebuild the Special Teams. There is no question that AV has lost some leg. But kickers are measured on talent and ice in the veins and Adam had that. But he was allowed to leave in Free Agency. Mike Stone was a find as a ST contributor and as yet has not accepted the tender offer as he seeks sombody who will let him play regular defensive snaps as well. The offer is still open I believe. They appear to be ading Mel Martinez a very good ST gunner as well. It will be interesting to see who they come up with as a kicker.

    I also detect a trend to patch rather than invest elsewhere. They are adding veteran DBs or at least appear to be doing so. They are adding WR patches or at least appear to be doing so there as well. They have not tried to obtaain a veteran RB; maybe they intend to draft help there. it may be too early, I still think tehy could obtain a Steven Davis or a Fred Taylor type vet.
     
  7. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Great Post Isaac.
     
  8. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Great post..but some of these socalled journalists do not care about anything at all but their career....but also are clueless about BB...
     
  9. Isaac

    Isaac Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Hey, thanks so much AZ, it's good to be welcome. Quote away. I'm planning to read Halberstam's book soon.

    ...and I wonder if I've confused Cafardo and Felger, if so apologies to Felger.
     
  10. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Welcome Aboard!

    Great posts. It's almost like we need this sort of once-a-week overview lesson again, because it is so easy (and so much more fun) to get caught up in speculation. And once people get caught up in speculation, they start to want the Pats to make the next "big move." (I have my own speculative favorites - it's fun - but have learned that you can only judge a Pats offseason in retrospect.)

    I'm a BB fan as much as a Pats fan. I don't just like winning, I like the way they've been winning. BB just about singlehandedly made the egotistical Mosses and Owenses of the world look like the dorks they are, by winning the big one repeatedly without bonus babies flashing bling and flapping their jaws on the national media.

    I wonder how he tests out on Meyers-Briggs? I would say definitely an "I". INTJ?

    PFnV
     
  11. ClosingTime

    ClosingTime On the Game Day Roster

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    The root of the situation is two-fold and both lay blame at the Boston sports media.
    1. Clearly BB is ornery with the press and at times downright obtuse. Journalists covering a beat for years expect there to be a certian level of repoire and friendliness from the people they are covering on a daily basis. BB doesn't go for this. All reporters ask stupid questions at times, most know the questions are kinda stupid but they put them forth to ellicit a certain response for a certain story they are writing. Again BB will not play their game. So, the journalists get pissed and wait for their chance to get back at him, whether they do this consciously or not is a matter for debate. But regardless they have let their personal feelings get in the way of analysis. Again I challenge anyone to make a viable case for the personel moves, or lack thereof this offseason. Givens was paid too much. McGinest is old and has one year left. AV wanted to leave and he's still, yes, just a kicker. What FA was signed that anyone truly thinks the Pats should have signed at the money they got? No one. And there are a lot of good FA's still out there that will come cheaper after the draft.

    2. Boston sports media themselves are at the same time grizzled pessimists and naive. After years of covering Boston's main sport, and watching the REd Sox titanic failures, a culture has been born that is just waiting for failure, and it seems each tries to show off their knowledge by being the first to predict such failure.
    Second, Boston journalists are baseball guys first and football guys second, so they don't understad the game that well. Not one is nationally respected for their football writing but Boston has a number of guys that are top baseball writers. SO I think they expect football to operate the way baseball does, making big FA signings.

    I can see why fans and writers for other teams would want to bury BB and the Pats, though I don't see this happening. Most of the respected writers/analysts support the Pats way of doing things. But for the Boston sports media to second guess every move and let their feelings seep into their articles is disgusting. That's not to say you can't be critical of moves or the way moves are handled, but they rarely even do that. Just a much of amatuerish mud-slinging.
     
  12. Bill's Girl

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

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    Issac:

    This is an absolutely fantastic and insightful post! Welcome to the board! Where have you been all this time?

    As for the delightful Boston media.....the standard of excellance started during Ted Williams time with the Red Sox. There were 6 Boston papers back then and some of them were publishing more than one edition per day. The media soon found that it was easy to provoke Teddy Ballgame and his quotes were splashed all over Boston. Pretty soon Ted was refusing to speak to the media and that is when the real media war began. After a while, the fans started to turn on him as well.....Sound familiar???

    I have said this before, but I think there are a lot of similarities between BB and Ted Williams. Both men were/are driven to be the best at their professions, seemingly at an almost obsessive level. Both men prefer to do their charity work away from the lights of the cameras. Most importantly, there is a big difference between what the media say about each man and the way they are portrayed by those who know them.

    The Cleveland media hated Bill, that is no secret, but they also poisoned the Boston media against him. I have read stories about members of the Boston media talking to their Cleveland counterparts for the scoop on Belichick and were biased by these reporters accounts of him. Before BB even had his coming out party at Foxborough, reporters were calling him vile names. This still continues even AFTER three Super Bowl titles.

    A side note on fricken Borges....Parcells was his man, and RB was on the inside of the Parcells regime. When Tuna left, Borges turned on the Kraft family. He was never a BB guy because Bill never had media favorites. This got worse when BB kept Tommy as the starting QB when Bledsoe was healthy again in 2001. Borges had the same arrangement with Drew as he did with Tuna. He has been after BB with a vengance since then!
     
  13. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #17 Jersey

    Post Of The Year!!!

    Awesome post - dead nuts on in most all respects. Issac, your story should be picked up by media and spread far and wide.

    I for one am enjoying this rare combination of terrific ownership coupled with a system (from front office, on the field, awesome scouting group, right down to talented and appreciated interns (I know 2 interns and they are treated with respect).

    We are very fortunate to have BB heading up the football operations of this golden age of New England Patriot football.
     
  14. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave In the Starting Line-Up

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    Thanks for my morning read. Dead On.

    Wow, thanks for a great post. Quite the side dish to my coffee.
    You bring up many good points, these are my favorites. (slightly edited) All very true.
    Especially about the stupid questions. It's amazing how much better the questions asked HERE are compared to some of the lame queries by the press.
     
  15. Hoodie

    Hoodie Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Part of the reason for media's misunderstanding is because BB refuses to explain himself. The less he explains the more the media baits him, the less he explains. It infuriates them. (Although explaining, as the Red Sox tried to do also infuruates them so I guess you can't win.)

    It also builds BB into kind of a mythical figure. Fans and the media latch onto anything that we hope will give us insight into the man's charcater or motivation. He's sort of a football Greta Garbo

    (OMG did I just compare BB to Greta Garbo? I think I may need more coffee.)
     
  16. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #17 Jersey


    What's to explain?? It is a bottom line business - "winning isn't everything, it's the ONLY thing". Nothing else really matters no does it??
     
  17. Bill's Girl

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

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    You need more than coffee...... :eek: BB has been compared to a lot of people but this has to be a FIRST! If he shows up at training camp quoting lines from Anna Karenina, while dressed as Mata Hari we are seriously screwed! :D
     
  18. Hoodie

    Hoodie Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    LOL. Can't you just hear him saying, "I vant to be alone."
     
  19. Pats Fanatic

    Pats Fanatic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

     
  20. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great post. I suggest that anyone who wants to "get" BB that they read Halberstam's Biography of Belichick.
     

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