Bill Belichick

USA Today

It All Starts With Hood

Greatest football coach ever.

February 04, 2019 - 9:19 am

Well, that was not what anyone expected. Not even close. The greatest quarterback of all-time vs. one of the greatest offenses of all-time, and it was 3-0 at halftime. And 13-3 at the end. 

I will say this right now. That might not have been the greatest game ever, but that was the greatest coaching performance ever by one William Stephen Belichick. And if you’ve been looking for something to decide who deserves more credit for this run, Bill Belichick or Tom Brady, you got your answer last night. That was all Belichick.

Get ready for another awkward Bob Kraft “Bill the Goat” reference, because it’s true. He is the greatest. Greatest football coach ever and maybe the greatest coach in American pro sports ever. That’s how good he was last night.  

Sure, Brady had his moments; especially when they needed it most. And Julian Edelman was excellent, but if they could’ve given the Super Bowl MVP to a coach, they should’ve. And they should’ve broken off half that trophy for defensive coordinator and new Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. 

One year after getting de-pantsed by Doug Pedersen and self-owned by his decision to bench Malcolm Butler, Belichick came back with a freaking masterpiece. 

A true Belichick Masterpiece. Better than what he did to the Rams in the Super Bowl the first time and even better than what he did as a defensive coordinator to the Buffalo Bills in his previous masterpiece, Super Bowl 25. Yes, he shut down the Greatest Show on Turf and the K-Gun Offense with great schemes, but those offenses still got some. Both of those games came down to a field goal. In both of those games, the opponents actually moved the ball; and found the back of the end zone. 

Last night didn’t come down to a field goal. Last night, the Rams came up with a field goal. That’s it.

Belichick held Sean McVay, Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the rest of the crew to 30 points below their season average. 30. 

The team with the number two scoring offense in the league, and the 11th best scoring offense in history had a total of 260 yards and 3 points. Nine punts and three points. 

I’m not going to dig into the details of what Belichick did. Of how he used a Cover-4 look that was something similar to what his former DC Matt Patricia broke out when Detroit gave Goff problems back in Week 13. And you don’t need me to break down the stunts and twists that the Patriots defense front ran so well that it allowed them to get pressure on Goff, without getting exposed in the run game. 

If you want to know why Belichick was the real MVP, just ask Sean McVay, he admitted as much.

McVay could not have been any classier or more accountable. But don’t come in here with your bullcrap takes that McVay is overrated or that he just got exposed. You’re wrong. Dead wrong. McVay is for real. He just got outcoached by the greatest coach ever. That sucks. But there’s no shame in that. Bill Belichick has been doing that for years and he just did it again. This is what he does. He makes really good quarterbacks, really bad. And really good coaches, look unprepared. That’s why he’s the best to ever do it. 

Belichick had a plan and he worked it. And he worked it to perfection. 

And his guys knew it was coming. Check out this report from NFL Network’s Mike Giardi from before the game. Roll it.

Did he say that the Patriots believed that Goff would “bleep in his pants”? And if you haven’t seen the video of the report, it’s amazing. Because Giardi is clearly uncomfortable with that report. But he soldiers on and even throws up an awkward set of air quotes.

So the Patriots thought Jared Goff would go Pete McNeeley?

And you know what? For the first half, Goff pretty much did. I mean, I wouldn’t say full-blown Pete McNeeley, but it was a rough first half. How could it not be, if every time you drop back, you’re wearing Donta Hightower and Kyle Van Noy? They were throwing different looks, different schemes, and a ton of bodies at him.  They pressured the hell out of him. And confused the hell out of him. And Goff paid the price.  

But last night wasn’t just about Belichick the scheme-master either. It was about Belichick the talent evaluator and Belichick the trade wizard. Sure, Donta Hightower, who had two sacks last night was a first round pick, but do you remember how the Hoodman got Kyle Van Noy?

He got Kyle Van Noy from the Lions for a sixth round pick. Sorry, check that, he got Kyle Van Noy from the Lions for a sixth round pick and Detroit tossed in a seventh round pick as well. They could not get rid of Van Noy fast enough. They were throwing in an extra pick just to get rid of him. 

And Van Noy now has his second Super Bowl ring since joining New England and for chunks of the game, it seemed like there were two Van Noy’s on the field. He was in Goff’s face nearly every time Goff dropped back and decked him with that monster 14-yard sack in the second quarter. 

That was one of those plays that the unnamed Pats player was referring to. The kind of play where they throw you a different look, mess with your head, and then hope you mess your pants. 

They sacked Goff four times and knocked him down 12. Don’t get this twisted. Goff is tough as hell. He was hanging in there, taking hits, and looking to make a play. And he kept getting back up. Kept looking to make a play. 

Until this happened.

Ballgame. Belichick picked the right time to send all out pressure. And Goff picked the worst time to make his worst throw. And worst decision. At the worst possible time. Off the back foot, just heaving it up there, in a spot where the Patriots knew he frequently threw it when under pressure. And Stephon Gilmore could not have had an easier time picking that off.

Game. Set. Match. Hoodman is the greatest. And if you absolutely insist on saying who is more responsible for this run: Belichick or Brady. You got your answer last night.  Neither one of these guy would have the rings or lives they have without the other, but make no mistake, it starts with the Hood, not the Goat.