The persona of Bill Belichick, beyond his excellence as a football coach, is rarely seen. The Patriots’ coach only lets out what he wants, and his press conferences seem cold and disinterested — with them being so much about him limiting the information that will be provided to the media.
But the real Belichick is the guy that spoke passionately at a tribute to Joel Buchsbaum at the Scouting Combine two months after the draft guru’s death. The real Belichick is the guy that talked last week about Steve Sabol a few days after the creative genius behind NFL Films died at the age of 69.
During the 2009 season, Belichick wore a microphone the entire year, which allowed NFL Films to delve deep into what makes Belichick tick in their marvelous series, “A Football Life.”
There were probably some that were surprised that Belichick agreed to do it. He told the Boston Globe how it happened, and prefaced his story with this: “I never even told Steve this.” Figuring it might be a tough sell, Sabol had traveled to Foxborough to convince Belichick when it turned out that really wasn’t necessary.
Said Belichick, “I mean, it would be hard for me to say no to Steve Sabol or David Halberstam (the latter wrote a book about Belichick, “The Education of a Coach”). I mean, those guys are geniuses at what they did.
“So Steve comes in with this big presentation, going on about, ‘Hey, I did this with Lombardi and this and that.’ He’s going on and on and on, and I’m sitting there thinking to myself, ‘Well, I’m going to do this.’
“But he sort of never really asked me about it. He started the whole presentation and went through it before he finally asked the question, maybe 10 minutes later of telling me all the things he did, and how I should trust him and how he would … all the things that were part of it.
“So, after about 10 minutes, he said, ‘So, what do you think?’ I thought the whole time I knew I was going to do it. But I said, ‘Yeah, it’s good.’ (He said) ‘Great.’
“I’m sure he felt like it was his sales pitch that did it, but I was sold before he even tried to make the sale.”
Sabol told people he had seen a questionnaire Belichick filled out years ago that asked his favorite movie and Belichick had said, “Anything by NFL Films.”
Finally, Belichick told the Globe how often he watched NFL Films creations growing up.
He said, “I think anytime there was an NFL Films presentation or show on, I found a way to watch it. That was back before the VCR days and all that. But the Football Follies, the stuff on Lombardi and Landry, the Ice Bowl, and all those games … yeah.
“He certainly opened a lot of doors from an entertainment and appreciation of football standpoint … slow motion. I mean, the guy puts a spiral to music and you’re spellbound by it. A lot of talent there.”