The legacy of Bill Belichick has diminished over the years. The New England Patriots haven't finished a season with a ring since 2004. Without the distraction of winning, Belichick's character flaws have been on full display.
To pound home the fading aura point, the supposed brightest defensive mind in football has continuously trotted out teams that have failed to make big stops at key moments.
You can blame it on the personnel if you wish, but let's not forget that he's the one who brought in these players. If they couldn't run his schemes, that's on him.
When you're winning, people can look the other way. In that manner, he's similar to Michael Jordan. Now that Michael isn't bringing home titles every year, we see that he's just a jerk that can't seem to stop putting others down.
If you don't believe Belichick is on that same level, check out these examples.
Thanks, but She's Hotter
Belichick comes from the famed Bill Parcells coaching tree. Assumedly, he's grateful in his own way, but he sure has a funny way of showing it.
Parcells brought Belichick back into the fold with the Patriots once he was dismissed as the Cleveland Browns head man. He then followed Parcells to the New York Jets so he could have a job. Once Parcells decided it was time to call it a career (albeit prematurely), he took great pains to ensure his protege would succeed him.
So how did Belichick repay him? By slipping someone a handwritten resignation note—at his introductory press conference. He then conducted a meandering soliloquy that gave the Jets the finger and related how much more attractive the New England job was.
Why Be a Man When I Can Blame Someone Else?
The Spygate scandal itself isn't necessarily a blemish on the career of Belichick. To expect that NFL teams don't find creative ways to give themselves an advantage is foolhardy.
However, Belichick's subsequent public iciness towards his own protege, Eric Mangini, was a bit bush league.
This "feud" began before the scandal came to light, as Belichick seemingly resented that Mangini took a head-coaching gig. It appeared that the mentor didn't believe that Mangini was ready for such a responsibility.
Everything came to a head when Mangini tipped off the NFL that the Pats were taping signals during a game against his Jets. The key component is that Mangini was on the opposite sideline during this transgression.
Belichick should know better than anybody that you do whatever it takes to win. There's no need to shun your former protege from denying you an advantage.
Does anybody else sense the irony here?
I Don't Want You, But I Don't Want You To Be Happy Either
Belichick has established a trend with his treatment of players looking to find long-term security in a short-term gig.
NFL players don't have long to make as much cash as possible. That doesn't excuse prolonged holdouts and apathetic play (see Jackson, DeSean), but they shouldn't be punished for acting in their families' best interest.
Like Randy Moss before him, Wes Welker has been looking to land a contract that compensates him at an All-Pro level. Seems appropriate considering that's exactly how he's played over the last five years.
Belichick didn't seem to agree and the two sides could not agree on a long-term deal. In anticipation of the stalemate, the Pats head coach slapped him with the franchise tag.
That would be fine, except that he inexplicably benched the productive receiver. He only allowed Welker back into the huddle because of Aaron Hernandez's injury. No real reason was given publicly, but it certainly couldn't have been for play-related reasons.
Welker is getting paid a large sum of money to play for New England, and that's not his fault. If Belichick didn't want to pay him, he should have let him walk or traded him. Instead, he had to prove that none of his players are anything without him.
You Don't Put Your Hands On A Man
Quite simply, you do not put your hands on another man. His actions did nothing but show up a person who didn't put himself in this position, the NFL did. So if you have a problem with it, why don't you go to the source Bill?
Nobody has ever accused Bill Belichick of being a nice guy. Now that his trophy collection is beginning to gather dust, people will see him for what he is: another jerk whose free pass has been revoked.