Greg O'Brien, Codfish Press
Mike Barnicle once said it best about Bill Belichick. The man makes young children want to do their homework. Preparation, focused study, quiet but unshakable confidence, perfect execution, and humility are the cornerstones of success at any age. Belichick embraces and embodies these traits, holding to them as if they were critical, life-sustaining provisions—the difference between showing up and shining, between doing what’s expected of you and exceeding all expectations.
Three Super Bowls in four years, the fitting comparisons with Vince Lombardi’s Packers of the 60s, the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s, and the Cowboys of the 90s, invoking the “D” word are all imposing and impressive, but it is the inner spirit and moral fiber of Belichick that is most inspiring and will endure long after the confetti was swept last January from the banks of St. John’s River in Jacksonville and from the proud streets of Boston, and long after the 2005 season huddled up Thursday with a loud victory over Oakland, extending an unbeatable home streak.
The antithesis of brash, look-at-me worldly success, Belichick, a paradigm of reserve, is a true world champion—for both his accomplishments and for what he has taught us along the way. The lesson is inescapable. As John wrote in the Book of Revelations: “He who has an ear, let him hear.”
On the field and off, Belichick is the unchanged—most notably on Nantucket where he owns a modest, two-story, four-bedroom vacation home in quiet ‘Sconset, the type of gray-shingled, white trim structure that looks like it belongs to a high school principal or the owner of a small plumbing business.
Belichick’s ties to Nantucket date back to high school when he first visited the island and was captured by its simple, self-effacing natural beauty. “It’s sort of home to me,” he told Rob Duca of the Cape Cod Times months ago in an interview, noting that he, his wife Debby, and their three children—Amanda, Stephen and Brian—spend as much down time here as possible.
Belichick guards his island privacy so much so, Duca reported, that when a national magazine reporter came here to interview him, he met the reporter at the cramped Nantucket airport to talk, rather than escort him to his home. Belichick, Duca wrote, has befriended legendary Nantucket High School coach Vito Capizzo, who regularly queries the Patriots coach about defensive maneuvers. “As I told Vito, I’d love to have his record,” Belichick confided to Duca.
Dressed casually in khakis and often in his signature-hooded sweatshirt, Belichick can also be seen on off days roaming the links at Sankaty Head golf course where he usually insists on carrying his bulky bag, rather than riding a cart. And he takes in high school lacrosse games, Duca reports, watching like everyone else behind the fence. “He keeps to himself; he’s very grounded,” coach Santos said of Belichick.
Grounded, humble, introspective, always prepared, Bill Belichick is a role model we should all embrace.
Super Bowl rings sparkle, but the good character of a person glistens. One can't look at Belichick without squinting.