One of Bill Belichick’s formative moments came while coaching against the Patriots

The seven-time Super Bowl winner was unusually open during a recent interview.

Bill Belichick talks about leadership, his career, and a myriad of other topics in an interview with Suzy Welch on CNBC.
Bill Belichick talks about leadership, his career, and a myriad of other topics in an interview with Suzy Welch on CNBC. –Via CNBC

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In a wide-ranging interview on CNBC, the usually reserved Bill Belichick quoted both Sun Tzu and Dwight Eisenhower. Clearly, he’s a long way from Patriots press conferences.

The 64-year-old coach, though occasionally willing to discuss select topics at length, is known for generally terse responses to questions from the media. Yet he was willing to open up to CNBC interviewer Suzy Welch in the recent segment.  He even summarized his thoughts about topics like Deflategate and Aaron Hernandez (in one word each).

One anecdote described an early point in his career when he discovered his potential as an NFL coach while with the Lions in the late seventies:

We were 1-4. We were playing the Patriots, who were 4-1. They had a great team, and I went back to an experience that I had in Baltimore. I talked to our offensive coordinator at that time, and said, “Look, I know we haven’t used this formation, but I studied this formation when I was at Baltimore last year. I think this is really going to give the Patriots a problem. Can we take a look at this?’ So we went through it, we looked at it and used it.

We won the game by three touchdowns. It was a huge upset. That was kind of one of those [moments] where I was like okay, I can coach in this league.

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Belichick noted that his takeaway from that experience was “don’t be afraid to use a good idea just because it’s unconventional.”

For the CNBC audience, several of Belichick’s answers were directed towards larger themes of leadership and management. Yet for Patriots fans, there was still plenty of football discussion (and a standard reference to his aversion to social media). Here’s the full interview: