You don’t have to like Bill Belichick, the three-time champion head coach of arguably the greatest Super Bowl team of this generation. He’s not the most likable man, always wearing a dark blue hoodie — an unstylish NFL genius – having a shrewd IQ, even though few believe he’s a fraud after the infamous episode of Spygate.

Either way, that is, Belichick – whether his name is Belicheat or Beligenius – is bidding for his fourth Super Bowl title in his fifth appearance in a national setting, piloting the New England Patriots to supremacy and can also solidify his legacy – ironically – at his finest days of excellence. His game plan for Super Bowl XLVI is suspenseful and erratic, but as great as he is, Belichick, I’m sure, will have his players prepared for the opportune moment and a few tricks to pull out of his hood.

It’s a chance when he and the Patriots franchise can elevate legacies and become one of the dominant teams of not only this decade but NFL history, if the team can beat the New York Giants in a rematch of the 2007 Super Bowl season. In particular, it’s the arrogance and sneakiness of Belichick you dislike, it’s his overbearing, devious tactics you despise.

If you know him well enough, which many critics know by now – for instance – Belichick doesn’t care what you or I think of him. Like many coaches, he frequently tries whatever experiment it takes to capture a victory. And if the strategy works in the best interest of the team, he sticks with the pattern that brings him a blueprint to prosperity.

As he sauntered onto the stage and then preached familiarity, telling swarms of reporters shortly after the Patriots arrived late Sunday afternoon to Indianapolis for the game of Roman Numerals that he’s keeping to his standards, Belichick insisted that he won’t reveal much, and better yet, was placid and laid-back. For the first time, since he began coaching the Patriots, he addressed the media in the first news conference at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel. This time, for once, he stepped to the stand much less moody and dull.

That’s right, Belichick, the normally vague coach who is mum and brief with questioners, wasn’t wearing a disguise and openly laughed. He even was joking and chuckling, recalling his 2009 4th-and-2 blunder at their own 28-yard line in a 35-34 loss to the Colts. If this has a feel of annoyance or bitterness, it’s because of Belichick but respectively he’s in conversation to be depicted as one of the best coaches ever with a remarkable resume.

“I never had too much hospitality here until I went for it on fourth-and-2,” Belichick said jokingly. “And then since then, I’ve been greeted in a lot more friendly manner than I was in the past.”

When he was asked about how he’d feel if he won a fourth Super Bowl to tie Steelers coach Chuck Noll by 12-year-old reporter Grace Ybarra of Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, Belichick was kindhearted and charming. For decades, no one had ever seen the friendly side but Belichick’s petulant side.

He’s not worried about his All-Pro tight Rob Gronkowski, and said he is listed “day to day” with a high left ankle sprain for Sunday’s NFL championship game against the Giants. It’s not strange of Belichick to keep quiet with medical reports, and he’s optimistic Gronkowski will play in the biggest game, a key component to the Patriots high-flying offense.

“You’ve got to prepare for every one of these situations that come up,” Brady said of Gronkowski potentially being sidelined or limited while nursing an injury. “You always have to have some contingency plans.”

It’s surprising, as Belichick openly talked about his father, Steve, who was the longtime Navy assistant coach and had a short pro career with the Detroit Lions, that he shared his personal life when he normally chooses to just parley about the game.

“I’ve grown up with (football because of him),” Belichick said. “That was my life as a kid, from when I first remember … 4, 5, 6 years old. And obviously the rest of my life. He had a huge impact on my childhood, my love for the game and my involvement in the game as a coach.”

Growing up in a football household, he knows his father introduced him to the game in early childhood, and indeed, Bill took after his father, Steve, who died in 2005. What he did, as a father who taught Belichick the significance of life and turned him into the man he is today, was mold and develop a legend in his own son.

It is a nature of humankind, particularly in sports, that we share our displeasure and hostility toward the villain of football, whether he’s accused of being a sleaze for videotaping opponent’s practices or signals or even for building a dynasty. It would be wrong to admittedly call him one of the worst coaches ever, though he’s been accused of erroneously cheating and killing the integrity of pro football.

This is where, we can see him on the sideline in his hoodie and baggy trousers come Sunday, a common wardrobe everyone is accustomed to seeing that his hooded sweatshirt will likely own a place in the Hall of Fame. This is where, more importantly, he can win his fourth ring and historically listen to the debates on whether Patriots’ Tom Brady and Belichick are the best quarterback/coach combo in the history of this sport.

There is a palpable feel that he has arose as the well-respected coach in American sports, and the Patriots have been largely a success under him in which New Englanders have immersed in the game when football has such a predominant role in the New England region.

How fitting, in the age when he is the most interesting man in the NFL, that Belichick returns to the Super Bowl at a time we are close to ranking his place in sports history.

He is either admired or loathed.

He is Bill Belichick.
Written by Jonathan Mathis, Columnist (Archive/RSS)

An aspiring sports journalist, a sports columnist for three sports sites. Sports Judge is all sports. Follow @Jon9685


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