Never before in the history of American sports has there been a bigger disgrace to the coaching profession than Bill Belichick. Until Spygate, Belichick was on the Mount Rushmore of pro football’s greatest coaches. But after his petulance following the New England Patriots' loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, it's clear he has no respect for the game and the responsibility that comes with it.
Belichick maintained his consistent level of belligerence in postgames after a tough loss by denying CBS Sports the traditional interview with Steve Tasker on Sunday. One would have thought that if he was so distraught, the team would have made its leader and the face of the franchise Tom Brady available since the head coach wouldn‘t speak. Instead the team chose Devin McCourty (really?) to represent what is supposedly one of the league’s signature franchises.
As Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe pointed out on the NFL Today postgame show, this is par for the course for a coach who has won five AFC titles in 12 years. Belichick is gracious in victory but petulant in defeat. The Patriots' leader is the consummate sore loser who is averse to speaking to a TV reporter about what went wrong when his team gets beat.
This should not come as a shock to those who have watched Belichick’s fall from grace, which was his own doing. Had he not become such a narcissistic egomaniac to flagrantly ignore NFL rules on taping opponents during games, his place in the history of NFL legends would have been secure. His place in the Hall of Fame wouldn’t have been tarnished.
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Instead, his legacy is undeniably stained.
Belichick still has the shadow of the illegal video taping scandal haunting him. The Patriots have not won a Super Bowl since the resolution of Spygate, which cost him and the team money and a first-round draft pick. While his fine has been paid and the team has recovered from the sanctions the league levied against them, Belichick’s classless behavior has brought unnecessary embarrassment on the franchise and the league.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should intervene and make Belichick pay for not satisfying his professional obligation after the game. If a league can fine its players for their socks being too high or hits that don’t earn penalty flags, they have to hit him with a significant fine.
Coaches are leaders of men and middle management in the hierarchy of professional football. They set the standard for the team to follow on and off the field in victory and in defeat. Belichick’s entire body of work is that of a strategic genius but also a man of questionable character. It seems he is a cheater, a bad sportsman and a bad example for the youth who play this game.
The NFL claims to be trying to improve its image, but Belichick’s behavior was a black eye on the “shield” on national TV. Now the legacy of Belichick is complete: a cheat and a sore loser.