By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CBS) — Bill Belichick has been an NFL coach for a very, very long time, so it came as a bit of surprise when he pronounced his last name differently in a television special that ran in early December.

The coach looked into the camera for that CBS Sports special and pronounced his father’s name as “Steven Nicholas Bul-ICH-ic” instead of “Steven Nicholas BELL-i-check.” As a result, there was some question as to whether or not the world has been mispronouncing the last name of arguably the greatest head coach of all time.

And while the NFL regular season and postseason is not the best time to ask Belichick about such things, Super Bowl Opening Night — formerly known as media day — offered the right forum to tackle such an important topic.

“It was, obviously, a Croatian name coming over. My grandparents didn’t speak English, so it kind of got phonetically pronounced Bull-ICH-ic, just the pronunciation in Ohio. As my dad and mom moved through the South, to Vanderbilt, to North Carolina, to Annapolis, it kind of became Belichick. A lot of my relatives are Bull-ICH-ic, a lot of my relatives are Belichick.”

Belichick added a bit of a zinger after explaining the history.

“I answer to a lot of things. I mean, those are some of the nicer names that I’ve been called,” Belichick said.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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