Bill Belichick is often at his best on Fridays, and reporters know that with one day of practice left, that’s the best time to talk with the longtime NFL veteran about football history, his personal history, and other topics.
Today was one of those days.
Belichick’s trip down memory lane began when he was asked how he came to the idea that his team should practice in almost any weather. Belichick mused that there wasn’t much choice for a long time — teams didn’t have indoor facilities as they do now.
“At the (Baltimore) Colts, we were either in Memorial Stadium, which wasn’t a great practice facility because they sodded the infield after baseball season and that part was roped off, or you could press the ‘walk’ button and go across street to Eastern High School — their field was 2 percent grass and 98 percent dirt, rocks, glass.”
New England is practicing outdoors today, inside Gillette Stadium (the team was inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse yesterday), because there’s no way of knowing what the weather will be in Cleveland on Sunday, and it’s just that time of year in this area of the country, so Pats’ coming home games could be played in adverse conditions as well.
As his first head coaching job was with the Browns, Belichick was asked about his time there. Though it didn’t end well for him, Belichick has good memories of that time and said he learned a lot.
“I think there’s a lot of things you think about. From a football standpoint, I definitely think of the coaching staff, from Nick (Saban) to Kirk Ferentz, Pat Hill, Al Groh…all the coaches, Scotty O [current Pats special-teams coach Scott O’Brien], to the front office guys like Michael Lombardi, Phil Savage, Jim Schwartz, Thomas Dimitroff’s dad, Ozzie (Newsome)…a list of people who have done very well in a lot of areas of football. A collection of coaches I learned a lot from, they did a lot for me…watching them, interacting with them I learned a lot, we talked about doing things better as a staff.”
He also talked about NFL Network’s recently-concluded series on the Top 100 players in NFL history; Jerry Rice was selected number 1 by the panel, with Belichick’s friend Jim Brown second. Tom Brady was 21st.