BOSTON (CBS) — As the Patriots prepare to face the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, there’s a lot of talk about dads down in Houston.
New England quarterback Tom Brady was brought to tears at Monday’s Opening Night when asked who was his hero, quickly telling the young reporter that it was his father, Tom Brady Sr..
On Tuesday, it was Bill Belichick’s turn to talk about his dad. The Patriots head coach gave a lengthy response when asked what he learned from his father, Steven Belichick, who was an assistant coach at Navy for 34 years. Belichick said his father influenced his career greatly, teaching him nearly every aspect of being a coach:
I grew up going to Navy practices and meetings he would have with the team. He scouted Navy’s upcoming opponent, so on Tuesday nights, he would go over to the field house, the team would come over and he would watch the fill with them. Back in those days players would go both ways, so you would watch continuous game film — offense, defense, special teams — but the same guys were out there playing. I’d go over there with him and sit with him, listen to him talk to the team about ‘here’s what they’re going to do,’ ‘here are the keys.’ Talk to them from a scouting standpoint.
Going to practice and gave me a great opportunity to see a number of great coaches that were at the Naval Academy; head coaches like Wayne Harden, assistant coaches like coach Rosana, coach Corso, Ernie George. There were dozens of them at all the positions. Each guy had a different style and an different way of doing things, and I kind of learned that you can be a good coach doing it this way, doing it that way, fitting your style.
As it goes back to my dad, I’d say hard work and preparation. To go to a game and watch him scout the game, it was an unforgettable experience. There would be four or five other scouts besides him, and he’d be there with his book and scout it. He’d write down the substitutions, the play and he’d be ready to go for the next play. When it was all over, this was back in the day when it took two days for the film to come in, those plays were the game. You had to wait two days before the game was on the film. There would be other guys scouting and they’d be asking ‘what happened on that play?’ or ‘who caught that?’ He was just so good at it. When the game would be over and we’d be driving home, we’d be talking and he saw every play. The blocking scheme, the defense, the pattern they ran, what coverage they were in, who blitzed. He had a great vision, so he taught me and tried to explain those keys to me, how he watched the guard triangle, the fullback, a run-pass key, take his eyes and move to the passing game if the quarterback was off the line. If the quarterback was off the line than see the blocking pattern. Before that he already knew the down and distance, the field position, the formation and the front. That was already locked in and he just put it together.
It was really impressive, but again, I realized that came from not just watching it, but preparing for it; knowing who the players were and the plays were going into the game, that type of thing. When he would come back, he usually came back Saturday night after the game, he would go scout Penn State or whoever it was, get back Saturday night or Sunday morning. Coach Rosana, coach George, coach Harden, they would come over or call him and ask what happened in the game because they hadn’t seen the film yet. He would tell him they ran this, they ran this defense but started blitzing this guy more than they ever have. That really got them ahead on the game plan.
Now of course, technology has eliminated that, but those are some of the influences I learned from him. I was fortunate too, as not a real good player, he ran a football camp and I had an opportunity to coach in that camp. Not that I was a coach coach, but being more on the coaching end of it than a playing end of it as I got into high school, and college. Getting into coaching, even at that level and understanding coaching meetings, personalities, decisions, techniques, fundamentals, preparations.
Belichick went on for nearly five minutes about the experiences he had with his father and the lessons he learned. His response gave us a deep look into what made him the coach he is today, as he prepares for his seventh Super Bowl as a head coach.
However, Belichick said nothing about getting any media tips from his dad.
“Long answer to a short question. I’m famous for those, right?” Belichick joked.