One of the most terse, closeted men in professional sports, Bill Belichick remains a mystery, even to his most avid of admirers. But in a new book written by New York Times best-selling author Ian O’Connor, titled Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time, the curtain is pulled back on arguably the greatest football coach to ever live.
Over three years, O’Connor interviewed 350 people (although Belichick, true to form, declined to cooperate) to uncover fascinating nuggets about Belichick, his rise to Football God, his relationship with Tom Brady, and much more.
Here are four revelations made in the book that piqued my interest.
Brady pushed to the edge with Belichick
There’s been no shortage of coverage on the nearly two decade marriage between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick–with some reports chalking up their turbulence as healthy in a longstanding competitive relationship, while others claim they flat out don’t get along.
A source told Ian O’Connor that particularly this offseason, Brady was pushed to the edge with his grumpy coach.
“If you’re married 18 years to a grouchy person who gets under your skin and never compliments you, after a while you want to divorce him,” the source said. “Tom knows Bill is the best coach in the league, but he’s had enough of him. If Tom could, I think he would divorce him.”
O’Connor’s book claims that Brady’s own family thought Belichick would do Brady dirty. Brady’s sister Nancy reportedly told people her brother believed “Belichick will definitely do to him someday what the Colts did to Peyton [Manning].”
Aaron Hernandez, red flags ignored.
Urban Meyer urged at least one NFL team that they should not draft Aaron Hernandez before the 2010 draft, telling the team: “Look, this guy’s a hell of a football player, but he f—ing lies to beat the system and teaches all our other guys to beat the system. With the marijuana stuff, we’ve never caught this guy, but we know he’s doing it. … Don’t f—ing touch that guy.”
“He said, ‘He’ll never become the Giants’ head coach. … George, like others, said, ‘This is an ex-lacrosse player. He’s a disheveled-looking mess most of the time.’ George was big on the other stuff as far as appearance, which is why he was so high on Ray Perkins.”
Giants GM on Belichick: ‘A disheveled-looking mess.’
Longtime Giants general manager George Young thought Belichick would be an awful head coach when Belichick served under Bill Parcells as defensive coordinator of the Giants.
Personnel man Chris Mara recalled a meeting in the late ‘80s in a conference room at the Giants’ headquarters, where he told his staff: “He said, ‘He’ll never become the Giants’ head coach. This is an ex-lacrosse player. He’s a disheveled-looking mess most of the time. George was big on the other stuff as far as appearance, which is why he was so high on Ray Perkins.”
Young, who also thought Belichick would struggle mightily with the media, even told Patriots owner Robert Kraft not to hire him. #OldTakesExposed.
Steve Belichick seemed like a good man.
Bill Belichick’s father, Steve, served in the then-segregated Navy during World War II on the island of Okinawa. Belichick was reportedly the only white man not to walk out of the officer’s club when Samuel Barnes, a black officer, walked in. O’Connor spoke with Barnes’s daughter, Olga, who likened the two’s strong bond to former Bears running backs Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo in the movie Brian’s Song. Barnes would later become an NFL executive.
For more revelations made in Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time, head over to ESPN.