What makes Bill Belichick different from other NFL coaches, according to Eric Mangini

"I don’t think Tom Brady is Tom Brady without Bill Belichick."

Eric Mangini Bill Belichick
Former New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini shakes hands with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after a game in 2006. –Adam Hunger / Reuters

An anonymous NFL defensive coordinator recently opined that without Tom Brady, Bill Belichick would be “just like the rest of us, trying to get our s*** together.”

But Eric Mangini, who rose through the coaching ranks under Belichick, thinks “… that guy needs to get his bleep together.”

Mangini was a ball boy turned public-relations intern with the Browns when Cleveland’s head coach took a chance on the hard-working kid. Belichick made Mangini a coaches assistant, then mentored the fellow Wesleyan alumnus as Mangini rose to defensive coordinator in New England.

“Bill is different than other coaches,” Mangini said on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” on Tuesday. “The thing that always impressed me was the way that he worked. He knew everything that was going on offense and defense and special teams and free agency, the draft, the medical department. He had a grip and an understanding and a big-picture vision that most coaches don’t have.”


Mangini also had to face his former mentor as head coach of the New York Jets. In the segment, he noted the matchup was “daunting” because he knew how high Belichick set the bar for the Patriots. That work ethic didn’t change as New England piled up Super Bowls — “if anything, maybe it got stronger,” he said.

For Mangini, the distinguishing factor between Belichick and other NFL coaches is his ability to manage the “big picture.” Instead of having his all-time great quarterback carry the team every game, Belichick concentrates on defense and special teams and “complementary football.”

“Whoever said that he’s just another guy, that’s what separates them: the big picture, the vision, the way it all fits together,” he said. “The game-plan to win the game.”

The coach-turned-analyst also addressed the ongoing dispute over who deserves more credit for the Patriots dynasty: Belichick or Brady?

“I don’t believe Bill would be what Bill is without Tom Brady,” Mangini said. “And we saw that. He had one winning season in six years prior to Tom Brady. However, I don’t think Tom Brady is Tom Brady without Bill Belichick.”