Epoch1's Blog
Talk has started about who should be the NFL's "Coach of the Year". When Bill Belichick's name gets mentioned, a lot people seem to think he doesn't qualify for a lot of reasons.  I'm a lifelong Patriot fan and, despite my homer based affection and appreciation for the Patriots, I have to agree.

Bill Belichick doesn't deserve to be simply coach of the year... He should be voted coach of the decade.

Are far as I'm concerned, Bill Belichick is one of the greatest, if not the greatest coach the NFL has ever seen. He understands the game of football at a level that is head and shoulders above his peers. When it comes to knowing what his opponent is thinking or plans, he coaches with an insight that is beyond that of most coaches. His knowledge of defense and his ever-evolving game plans have frustrated and confounded opponents while enabling his team to function at their highest level regardless of who is playing at a given position. He has always been able to make the adjustments during the flow of a game that seem to change the course of play from one half to the next.

When it come to getting the most out of what he was given, no coach in NFL history has accomplished what Belichick has. Since the day Tom Brady replaced the injured Drew Bledsoe, the Patriots have been one of the greatest TEAMS in the NFL top ever take the field. Tom Brady turned out to a whole lot better than your average 6th round draft pick. He took the team to the Superbowl in his first season; A team that had virtually no superstars on the roster. Brady was a big part of the team's success, but he wasn't the guy who got the Patriots there... Bill Belichick did.

Belichick's list of accomplishments during his tenure as head coach of the Patriots is impressive.

The Patriots have dominated pro football since the day Brady stepped on the field. Under the watchful eye and with the steady guidance of Bill Belichick, through numerous changes in players and staff, they have reigned supreme in the NFL since the start of the 2001 season. There have set almost too many records to mention.

They have won the AFC East Division every year since 2001. They set the record for the longest win streak in the NFL over 2 seasons with 21 games. They won 18 straight games in a single season. They went undefeated at 16-0 in the 2007 season. They set the single season scoring records. They won 3 of the 4 Superbowls they played in. Belichick has set a standard that will be the measure for all future coaches when it comes to judging their performance.

Belichick has shown that stars don't make teams. It is teams that make stars. He has maintained a sense of fiscal responsibility in player contracts and signings that has made the Patriots one of the most profitable clubs in the NFL. Players have come and gone yet the Patriots have been consistent in their performance despite losing players that many felt were keys to their success to bigger paychecks on other teams. Every time a Malloy or Washington or a Branch left it was seen as the end for them. Belichick has taken offensive stars like Troy Brown and convinced them to change roles and sacrifice their personal statistics by playing defense for the sake of the team. Brown is the epitome of the sort of player that Belichick holds dear. Ask Belichick what he thinks about Brown he will give him the greatest praise he knows and the ultimate compliment. He tell you that Troy Brown is a "great football player". That is the only kind of guy Belichick wants on his team.

He has taken guys who were perceived as troublemakers and malcontents and turned them into the ultimate team role models. He took guys like Cory Dillon and Randy Moss, guys a lot of people felt were cancers in the locker room and convinced them to restructure their contracts and take pay cuts in order to join the team. Then he coached them to personal bests when it came to their seasons with the Patriots.

Belichick is unequaled is his ability to get the best out of each and every player on his roster when he needs it regardless of that players ability or position. He has built a system that virtually guarantees success to those players who will follow it. He inspires a sense of commitment and performance from his players that has become legendary. The Patriots model became the standard for teams everywhere in the early years of this decade. It remains so today

When Tom Brady went down in the first game of the year the season was over before it ever began as far as almost everyone who watches football was concerned. Once again the Patriots were faced with using a young untested QB as their main weapon. Along the way they've lost a dozen starters on both sides of the ball. The path to the Superbowl suddenly seemed more like a mountain trail too high to climb. Yet, despite a season plagued with misfortune, in week 15 they remain tied for first place. A feat that seems as incredible now as it did impossible at the start. Until you consider that, no matter who was starting or was missing, the coach has been there for every game.

The most telling symbol of the Patriots success and the expectations it has set for them as a team is the fact that some people see this year's performance as "disappointing"! If any other team suffered the sort of losses the Patriots have when it come to personnel, they and their coach would be lauded for simply avoiding a winless season. No ordinary coach would be expected to make any sort of run during a season such as the one the Patriots have faced this year.

But Bill Belichick is no ordinary coach... he is quite simply extraordinary. This is the kind of season he thrives on. Where others would see it as an ordeal to be endured... Belichick will accept it as a challenge to be embraced.

For basketball fans in general and for the Celtics and Lakers fan there will never be another decade as great as the 1980's. For me, when it comes to football, there will never be another decade like that of the aught years of 2000. They may finish the season at 11-5 and still not make the playoffs. But to any real fan this has been one of the most successful seasons of all. As a fan I appreciate everything about this team and I want to thank them for their efforts and for an inspirational season of football.

New England Patriots fans have been the recipients of the greatest decade of football any group of fans will ever experience. There have been thrilling victories and agonizing defeats. Through it all there has been Bill Belichick, roaming the sidelines in his ugly hooded sweatshirt, pulling out victory after improbable victory.

I don't think I‘ll ever see another stretch of football as great as the first decade of this century has provided. I don't think anyone who watches and loves NFL football will.

But as long as Belichick is the Patriots coach... there is always the possibility.


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