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Kelley: Bill Belichick’s Focus and Consistency is Commendable



New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick

Speculation is flying that Sunday’s game against the New York Jets could be the end of the Bill Belichick Era with the New England Patriots. Despite winning nine AFC Championships and six Super Bowls during his 24 years in Foxboro, Belichick’s job security has been a point of discussion all year. Some have reported the Kraft family has already decided to move on from Belichick after this season. But the coach himself has not chimed in on any of this chatter. This week he gave everyone a reminder why. Looking beyond the task ahead, and worrying about things out of his control, is simply not how Bill Belichick operates.

Bill Belichick has been asked multiple times this season if he wants to be back next season. His response has been some form of, “I’m trying to get the team ready to play” the Patriots next opponent. Many try to analyze everything the coach says and doesn’t say. People should know better by now. It would be easy for Bill Belichick to say, “I’d love to stay in New England, but that decision is up to Robert Kraft, not me.” But even if he feels that way it is not something Belichick would ever say.

The Message Remains the Same

Some might find it frustrating that Bill Belichick is never willing to give the sound bite they eagerly await. To the contrary, Bill Belichick’s focus and consistency should be commended. His full focus has always been on what is the . It is part of what allows him to have stayed in an unkind media market for nearly a quarter century.

When Belichick has provided lasting sound bites to the media, they’ve come in the same form. He is always looking ahead to the next game, and preparing his team to be ready to play. Whether he has said, “do your job” or “no days off” or “on to Cincinnati” the message is the same.

Perhaps this focus to the task ahead dates back to his time as a New England Patriots assistant coach.

Bill Parcells Example

Bill Belichick was as assistant on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England prior to becoming head coach himself. The 1996 Patriots won the AFC Championship. As they prepared to face a Green Bay Packers squad featuring Brett Favre and Reggie White, Parcells was busy making plans for the following season.

In the days leading up the Super Bowl, Bill Parcells spent some of his attention on where he would be in 1997. Some would argue (myself included) any attention Parcells was giving to other teams during that time was too much. There was a championship at stake, and New England’s head coach appeared preoccupied with his future plans.

In Michael Holley‘s book Patriot Regin, Bill Belichick spoke about Parcells splitting his priorities during that time.

“Yeah, I’d say it was a little bit of a distraction all the way around. I can tell you firsthand, there was a lot of stuff going on prior to the game. I mean, him talking to other teams. He was trying to make up his mind about what he wanted to do. Which, honestly, I felt totally inappropriate. How many chances do you get to play for the Super Bowl? Tell them to get back to you in a couple of days. I’m not saying it was disrespectful to me, but it was in terms of the overall commitment to the team.”

To his credit, Bill Belichick’s commitment to his current team cannot be questioned. When it was earlier this season, via Albert Breer reporting a deal was in place for Belichick to join the Washington Commanders after the season, Belichick dismissed the report as “ridiculous.” Such a report eliciting a response from Belichick is telling in itself.

Clarification on The Greg Hill Show

This week Bill Belichick made his weekly appearance on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show. He clarified why he continues to avoid getting into speculation on his future in New England, or elsewhere.

“Whatever success I have had, I’ve tried to go about my job the same way every week. Win, lose, good years, bad years, whatever they are,” Belichick explained. “Each week, get ready to go for that week, do the best you can to help your team win, and after that game move on to the next one. And at the end of the season, that’s the end of the season.

“But on a week-to-week basis, I don’t want to spend time, or get caught up in what happened five years ago, or what’s going to happen two years from now, and a bunch of other random stuff. Just working on the Jets.”

Bill Belichick reinforced, “I’m committed to the team that I’m coaching right now, the players that are here. They deserve my best every day and that’s what I’m going to give them.”

The New England Patriots have been lucky to have a coach for the past 24 seasons focused on winning the next football game. It has consistently been Bill Belichick’s focus. Whether people agree with how he has gone about that at times, or if he should be the head coach in 2024 can certainly be debated. But Bill Belichick is not going to worry about that until after the Patriots and Jets game ends on Sunday.

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