With a Victory, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Becomes the Greatest of All Time

Clint FeuerbachContributor IIIFebruary 4, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots applauds his players against the Denver Broncos  during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s Super Bowl, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has already stamped his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

By guiding his fifth team in the last 11 seasons to the big game and having already won three world championships, Belichick is in rare company as a coach.

Only Chuck Noll has more Super Bowl titles than Belichick, and with a victory over the New York Giants Sunday evening, the hooded one will tie the Steelers' legend at four Super Bowl victories apiece—the most in NFL history.

Belichick would have more rings than the NFL’s all-time leader in victories—Don Shula, the innovator of the West Coast offense and three-time super bowl champ, as well as Bill Walsh and the 250-win, five-Super-Bowl-appearance, fedora-wearing cowboy legend: Tom Landry.

In fact, the only coaches with more NFL titles than Belichick would be co-founder of the NFL, George "Papa Bear" Halas with six and the peerless Vince Lombardi with five.  For what it’s worth, all of Halas’s and three of Lombardi’s championships came pre-Super Bowl era.

What Belichick has been able to accomplish over the last 11 seasons is nothing short of remarkable. 

Belichick has averaged 12 wins per season, amassing 134 regular season victories against only 42 total losses.  Belichick has led teams to nine division titles, five AFC championships and a 16-5 playoff record to date.

Consistency over an extended period of time is the hardest goal to accomplish in the NFL, and Belichick has made it look easy.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03:  AFC Champion Head Coach Bill Belichick answers questions during a press conference during Super Bowl XLVI week at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The 134-42 record over the last 11 seasons registers at an incredible .760 winning percentage. 

Consider the fact that only one of the legends mentioned earlier even had a .700 winning percentage—that being Lombardi at .706. The others—Shula finished at  .677, Halas at .640, Walsh at .609, Landry at .606 and Knoll with a .566 winning percentage, respectively.

With free agency, me-first superstars, reality TV aspirations and incestuous agents all prevalent in today’s NFL, Belichick’s run may be more impressive than any coach in the history of the league. 

What Belichick has done is truly develop a program, a team and a family at the NFL level. The Patriot way—as it is often described in the media, is the team-first mentality that Belichick has implemented to his coaches and players. 

How Belichick achieves this feat is as impressive as his victory total.

Belichick caters to no one, even the superstar QB Tom Brady

Additionally, Belichick has routinely brought in players that other NFL teams have given up on and turned them into productive assets.  

Furthermore, if a player doesn’t produce or put the team first, they usually find a pink slip in their locker sooner rather than later. 

The embrace of this team concept is rare to see in professional athletics these days. 

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: (L-R)  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with head coach Bill Belichick on the sideline against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massach
Elsa/Getty Images

Contrary to what some observers may think, this success is not solely due to having superior talent—in fact, only seven current Patriots were on the roster when New England last made it to the Super bowl.

Obviously, Tom Brady has been the one constant on the roster from the first championship run to this present attempt to climb the mountain 11 years later.

Not only has Belichick overcame the roster upheaval during this amazing run, but also injuries.  When the face of the franchise—star QB Tom Brady—was lost for the season in game one a few seasons ago, Belichick still found a way to get his team to an 11-5 record. 

Brady missed 15-and-a-half games that season, and they still won 11 games!

Jay Cutler was lost for the year when the Chicago Bears were 7-3 this past season, and they couldn’t even get to double digit victories.

Not only does Belichick navigate the tricky free agent waters and overcome injuries, he also uses his roster in unique ways. 

This year, we have seen Belichick once again use a receiver in his multiple defensive-back packages.  The Patriots have employed both a 4-3 and a 3-4 defensive front the same way a basketball team jumps into and out of one-on-one and zone defenses. 

And oh, those tight ends—one of his tight ends lead the team in receptions and receiving TD’s and another tight end has gotten carries out of the I-back position, in addition to his blocking and receiving duties.

Love him or hate him, Bill Belichick is a great football coach. With a victory Sunday, he becomes the greatest of all time.