The Sporting News has put together a ranking of the top 50 coaches of all-time -- in all sports -- and Bill Belichick is No. 20. The ranking was selected by a panel of 118 Hall of Famers, championship coaches and other experts.
The top 5:
Editor in Chief Jeff D'Alessio passed along the following via email:
Willie McGinest, who won three Super Bowls while playing for Belichick’s Patriots, wrote an appreciation of his former coach in the new issue of Sporting News Magazine.
Wrote McGinest: “We were practicing taking a safety back in 2003. Bill put it in for the case where we’d get pinned back in our own territory late in the fourth quarter. We’d take a safety with our punt team, then punt it away on the free kick, pin the other team back and put in our 2-minute offense to win the game.
“So we went over it in practice and most of us are thinking, ‘Wait a minute. If we’re pinned back, the last thing we want to do is take a safety.’ We thought in that scenario time would just run out, so what we’d really do was punt.
“As luck would have it, that very week, that situation came up in the Denver game. We’re pinned back to the goal line, and Bill calls for it. We take the safety and free kick. And we get a great kick, it goes 50 yards in the air, and the returner misjudged it, so it rolled another 15 yards. So instead of having the ball near midfield, they’re pinned, and we stop them.
“The offense gets the ball, rushes down the field and we score to win the game. It was exactly what we practiced. … Bill would present these crazy situations and say, ‘This may not come up. But we can’t panic if it does. If you do your job and do the little things, you’ll win more than you lose.’
“That’s his attention to detail. The way he’d scout other teams, we didn’t have to do a million things. He would pick two or three things a week we specifically needed to do. And as was the case during that Denver game, it seemed like he was always 100 percent on point.”