Bill Belichick Honors Late Mentor Ted Marchibroda after Patriots Win

Marchibroda gave Belichick his first job in the NFL.

Bill Belichick won his record 23rd postseason game as a head coach Saturday, padding his legacy as arguably the greatest football coach ever. But four decades ago, Belichick was little more than a recent college graduate who was desperately seeking his first NFL job.

The man who gave Belichick his first gig as a glorified gopher boy earning $25 a week was former Baltimore Colts coach Ted Marchibroda, who passed away Saturday at the age of 84. Just a few hours later, the Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 at Gillette Stadium, securing their 10th trip to the AFC Championship under Belichick. Via Masslive:

“It’s with a real heavy heart that I stand here. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Ted Marchibroda,. He gave me a great opportunity. I learned so much from him – a lot of X’s and O’s, but it really wasn’t the X’s and O’s. It was a lot more about just being a football coach, being a professional coach—preparation, work ethic, dependability, what goes into having a good football team.

“And he was such a great person for me. I lived with Ted, we stayed in the same hotel. I drove him to work every day, drove him home every day, we had our staff meetings in the car, we ate breakfast together. He was such a mentor and I just can’t say enough about Ted, and I know everybody that’s coached and worked with him probably has the same exact feelings and they’ll probably tell you the same exact story, because that’s what Ted was.”

Much like Belichick, Marchibroda is regarded as a football innovator, as he was one of the first coaches who regularly used the hurry-up offense. Belichick also may have learned how to battle through adversity from Marchibroda as well—the ’75 Colts enjoyed the greatest turnaround in NFL history, finishing the season 9-0 after a 1-4 start.

Though Belichick only stayed on Marchibroda’s staff for one season, it’s apparent he considers him to be one of his mentors. The affection between the two men was mutual.

“Billy was a worker, a sponge,” Marchibroda told the New York Post in 2012. “And I think it’s pretty obvious he still is.”