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Belichick Is a Great Manager As Well As Coach

Bill Belichick and Mike McCarthy handshake

Yesterday, I did a post on how the Patriots’ Bill Belichick as a coach turned ordinary players into stars. Today I’ll recount some examples of how New England’s de facto general manager has skillfully acquired talented players via trade and free agency acquisition.

He’s not only the Pats’ head coach. Bill Belichick is the effective general manager of the Patriots. It might just be that his ability to draft and acquire players that fit into his system is the biggest reason for his stupendous success. He has not only turned athletes with modest skills into stars, he has also acquired a bunch of the league’s best veteran players – sometimes only for a year or two – to keep the Patriots’ machine humming. Belichick is the NFL’s savviest dealer when it comes to filling roster gaps and keeping his team well supplied with playmakers.

Darrelle Revis (2004)

When cornerback Aqib Talib unexpectedly left the Pats and signed with the Broncos just prior to the opening of the 2014 season, the Pats went out and signed Darrelle Revis to a one-year $12 million deal. He proceeded to be the team’s best defensive player, leading New England into the Super Bowl 49. In the AFC Championship and Super Bowl combined, Revis allowed one completion on passes thrown to receivers he was covering. After that one great year, Revis moved onto the Jets, and then the Chiefs – where he never again approached All-Pro status.

Rodney Harrison (2003)

When New England signed up the 9-year Chargers veteran, he instantly transformed into one of the league’s best safeties. In his first year there he made 1st team All Pro, and he made 2nd team in 2004. He played four more years with New England, but injuries and age took their toll over that span. By then it didn’t matter a lot, as the Pats won back-to-back Super Bowls in Harrison’s first two years there.

Randy Moss (2007)

The Pats acquired the aging superstar for a fourth-round pick in 2007. Under Belichick, he set the single-season record for touchdowns and was a terrorizing deep threat for the next three years. This trade goes down as one of the best moves in New England’s history. His numbers over a marvelous three-year stretch: 98 catches for 1,493 yards and 23 scores in 2007, 69, 1,008, and 11 in 2008, and 83, 1,264, and 13 in 2008. Twenty-three touchdowns? Yes, that’s the NFL seasonal record. The Pats kept Moss for one more year, and he finished his career in 2012 with the 49ers.

Aqib Talib (2012)

A first-round draft pick, Talib failed to be a dominant player (excepting his 18 interceptions) in four-plus years with Tampa Bay. Midway through the 2012 season, New England acquired him for a pittance (essentially a fourth-round pick). Talib was plagued by a hip injury throughout the remainder of that season, and again in 2013 he entirely missed three games due to aggravating that injury.

Despite the injury, he finished the 2013 campaign with 41 tackles, 14 passes defended, and four interceptions. He allowed only 29 receptions out of 65 targets – a fine rate of 44%. Aqib was selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl, and named to the All-Pro team – for the first time in each case.

In the playoff game against Denver, Talib took a hit to the knee from former teammate Wes Welker in the second quarter, and did not return. Bill Belichick later stated, “As it turned out, it was a key play in the game.” The Pats defense wound up yielding 505 yards for the game, and the Broncos prevailed 26-16.

In the subsequent offseason, Denver signed Talib to a six-year, $57 million contract, and he spent the final four years of his 10-year career there. In each of those years he was a Pro Bowl selection.

Corey Dillon (2004)

After-seven productive but often unhappy years with Cincinnati, Belichick got the bruising back in exchange for a second-round draft choice. In 2014, Dillon proceeded to carry the ball 345 times, for 1,635 yards, 12 TDs and a 4.7 yard average. It was his best season ever, and he was named to the Pro Bowl. In the three postseason contests, Dillon rushed for 292 yards, caught 9 passes for 53 yards, and scored 2 touchdowns – and New England took home the Lombardi trophy. Dillon stayed with New England for two more decent seasons.

Mike Vrabel (2001)

After four average seasons in Pittsburgh, the career of the third-round linebacker out of Ohio State took off. Belichick signed him up as a lightly-regarded free agent in 2001, his first season as the Patriots’ head coach. From 2001 through 2008, Vrable became the “prototypical Patriot.” He played outside linebacker, inside linebacker, defensive end, and he was even a great red-zone threat as a tight end. He missed only three games in eight years.

He was in the center of many big Super Bowl moments, and he owns three Super Bowl rings. Wikipedia sums him up this way: “Mike Vrabel epitomizes everything a coach could seek in a professional football player: toughness, intelligence, play-making, leadership, versatility and consistency at the highest level.”

Bill Belichick


Though only with Belichick for one season (2014), it was the best year in the brilliant career of Darrelle Revis.

In joining up with Belichick in 2003, Rodney Harrison instantly became a 1st Team All-Pro.

In his initial three years with the Pats, Randy Moss gained 3,765 yards through the air and caught an astounding 47 regular-season TDs.

After connecting with Belichick, Aqib Talib was selected to the Pro Bowl and named to the All-Pro team – both were first-time selections for him.

Corey Dillon had by far his best year as a pro, and was selected for the Pro Bowl, when he paired up with Belichick in 2004.

Under Belichick, Mike Vrable went from an average player to the leader and face of the Patriots for almost a decade.

In their often-brief time with New England, these six players have collected a total of seven Super Bowl rings. Coach Belichick has six of his own.


Note: You can follow all of Rob’s articles with these links:

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. PF4L February 15, 2019

    So if Ted thought his job was tough, and McGravy thought his job was tough. Look no further than Bellichik who has done both jobs by himself, what’s more incredible, was that he did both at the highest level.

    Ted can try bragging about outsmarting the other GM’s, and McGravy can tell us how successful he is.

    But in comparison, their star doesn’t shine very bright.

    As far as Mark Murphy (no i wont forget that p o s). If my truck has bad wheel bearings, has a main gasket leak, has a gas tank leak, i would have them repaired immediately, where Murphy would ignore it, look the other way, because it still gets him to point A.

    Just to be fair…I want to make this perfectly clear….there is absolutely nothing wrong with the President of a NFL team giving his guys the freedom to run the football organization. BUT…….once you see the team regressing, you can’t sit and watch it deteriorate over the years. You have to do something, you have to act, THAT’S YOUR JOB.

    The only thing worse than that, is not realizing the team is in fact, regressing.

    Yet, not only does this man stays in his position, he authors himself more power.

    I have no confidence in the B. O D,’s or Executive Committee to be the guardians of this team.


    1. Stiggy February 15, 2019

      Mark davis’ haircut would be very fitting for Murphy. Just need to get murphy one of those beanies with helicopter blades and the pack are set for a decade.

    2. Kato February 15, 2019

      I like your vehicle analogy. Except I would say the vehicle started off with a mild shimmy, which was neglected. The problem compounded into other steering component problems before completely failing and it the vehicle loses a wheel while hurtling at highway speed and it ends up hitting a bridge abutment and totals it

  2. Kato February 15, 2019

    I would disagree that Revis had the best year of his career with the Patriots. His 2009 season was insane, and he very nearly won DPOY in 2009 if it weren’t for Chuck Woodson being a total boss. In fact, Revis was the better coverage corner that year, but Woodson made the splash highlight plays. His game against the cowboys that year might have been the best play by a corner I have seen.

    1. Robster February 15, 2019

      Hard to argue your point, as Revis had 31(!) passes defended and 6 int’s in ’09, vs. 14 and 2 in 2014. On the other hand, he had a sublime 2014 postseason, and by that point in his career QBs were very reluctant to throw anywhere near him.

      1. Howard February 15, 2019

        In the day, Jordy and Revis were the guys you would want to study on how to work/use the sidelines in the pass game as a receiver an a defender.

  3. Skinny February 15, 2019

    Belichick and Kraft are the best man. Bill Michaels was saying on his show he was talking to a former Patriots player at the SB about how they continuously get it done year after year. The player said Bob Kraft has meetings regularly with the heads of everything related to the Patriots organization. So not only are Kraft and Belichick in that meeting, but the head laundry guy, the chef, the transportation guy, the team store head guy, etc. Everyone is at the meeting and Bob Kraft gives everybody a couple minutes to talk and if there are any problems Kraft wants to know what he can do to help. The player said he wasn’t sure he wanted to be in NE at first. He heard bad things but it was the best organization he has ever been apart of. Kraft saw him walking in the parking lot in his first couple days with NE and Kraft knew his name and wanted to know if he needed anything, like housing, school recommendations for his kids, restaurants to eat at. So all this talk about NE being hell sounds ridiculous. To me it sounds like the best organization in professional sports.

    1. PF4L February 15, 2019

      I can only guess the guys that didn’t like it there had different goals. Maybe having a good time was more important than winning. Or putting the work involved wasn’t their thing.

      As far as i can tell from what i’ve heard and read, that isn’t the place to go for a good time. Unless you view winning as a good time. Apparently they don’t put up with BS, or your shown the door. That was the only place that Randy Moss acted like a man.

      On the other hand, if your one of them, they have your back like family. Hell, initially Kraft tried helping Hernandez.

    2. Cheese February 15, 2019

      That sounds like the total opposite from the communication silos over at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Yet Murphy still has a job and continually spouts off about tradition and championships. Meanwhile the Packers have been doing a complete nosedive for the past eight years.

      That brings me to the time Murphy made a comment saying that the Packers were gonna make it to the Super Bowl one year (after SB45). The next day he apologized because he didn’t want to rub anyone the wrong way and said that “it would just be nice.” Around the same time the Patriots trademarked the phrase “Blitz for Six” on their quest for their sixth title. No apologies given. How did that work out for both sides? You see the difference in leadership there? Or lack thereof.

      1. PF4L February 15, 2019

        I believe that was the year the S B was in Minnesota, and your right, he back peddled on it the next day.

        Typical Murphy speak.

        Jun 29, 2018
        ““I tried to go to a lot of practices in the past, but I’m making it a point to getting to quite a few more of the practices,” Murphy said. “Just being a little bit more involved in football than I have in the past.

        “I didn’t do it for enjoyment. I did it because I think it will be the best thing for the organization. And hopefully if we’re successful and it helps us win, then I’ll really feel good about it.”

        (That really made a positive difference Mark. Just your presence lifts this team. your almost God like.)


        Jun 29, 2018
        So with training camp less than four weeks away, how does Murphy believe his changes are working?

        “Well, we’re undefeated,” Murphy said with a chuckle during an extensive interview with me in Green Bay on Thursday.

        (long deep forced chuckle)


        1. Cheese February 15, 2019

          Yeah it was the year the SB was in MN.

          Ohhhh.. the long forced chuckle after an awkward comment by Murphy that only he finds funny. Even he is using humor to comfort himself with how terrible the Packers have been. Maybe someone should ask him how his changes are going after the team just went 6-9-1, and they were lucky to have that many wins.

  4. PF4L February 15, 2019

    In other News….It has been widely reported that although we thought Goodell was biologically a man, it turns out he has no penis or testicles at all.

    1. Cheese February 15, 2019

      Kaepernick cares so much about his cause and playing in the NFL that he’s totally fine with ending his antics for an undisclosed settlement, after he reportedly wanted $20 million a year from the brand new AAF.

      Sacrifice everything? This dude doesn’t give a fuck about playing football. He got his attention and more money than most players will ever get though out this media stint, all for a borderline backup. What a joke. You also add spine to the list of body parts Goodell is missing.

  5. PF4L February 16, 2019

    How is it…..that Kaepernick gets praised and even receives awards from people and groups that denounce inequality based on racism, when it is indisputable, more than clear, that Kaepernick is also racist.

    How come it’s a sin for one, and not the other? ‘
    I think i know why actually…….

    Because, just like all black lives don’t matter to BLM, facts don’t matter either.

    For those who want to come at me for that, do this for a change of pace….

    Respond (dispute) the premise of my actually writings. Simply calling me a racist doesn’t make you the winner, it makes you look small.