Is Belichick the New Auerbach?
It’s been quite a week for the H.C. of the N.E.P. From glorified to reviled and back to glorified all in the span of two football games. Throw in a new contract and you’ve got a season’s worth of storylines and drama before the autumnal equinox.
Even though we’ve determined (presumably) that the Pats don’t need a video camera on the sidelines to beat the tar out of people, there are still questions remaining to be answered. Such as, is there more to the story? Then there is this: Has Bill Belichick become this generation’s Red Auerbach?
Even before the tape scandal broke there was a feeling that, as the saying goes, Belichick was playing chess while everyone else was playing Chutes ‘n Ladders. Kind of like Red. And even before the tape scandal broke, there was a feeling that Belichick or somebody (maybe Pat the Patriot) was doing everything possible to gain an edge. Kind of like Red.
From Paul Zimmerman:
“At one point we had a good drive going against the Patriots,” said one Lion who doesn’t want his name involved in this mess, but was willing to talk about it. “Mike Martz really had ’em going. They were getting fouled up, lining up wrong, we were moving the ball. Then boom, the headset from the sidelines to the coaches’ booth goes out.
“Next possession we were moving the ball again and the same thing happened. You know it only takes two or three plays to mess up a drive.”
Matt Millen, the Lions’ GM, says he was talking to another team’s head coach at the league meetings. He started telling him the story.
“Yeah, I know,” the coach said. “Headset went out. It happened to me in Foxboro, too.”
The Jets even claimed that happened to them in Week One, and that game was in New Jersey. Substitute a lack of air-conditioning, early hotel wake-up calls, buses that never arrive and heated locker rooms in May, and you pretty much have the Auerbach-era Celtics.
It’s clear that Belichick and the Pats have been in opponents’ heads before the scandal broke. A physical and a psychological advantage? You don’t need to go to the videotape on that one.