Bill Belichick Playing Head Games with Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll?

Because of Randy Moss’ release in Minnesota and Mike Shanahan’s treatment of Donovan McNabb in DC, many other side stories in the NFL have been overlooked this week. One such story that would normally be of more interest is Bill Belichick going up against Eric Mangini when the Patriots visit the Browns Sunday.

The history between Belichick and Mangini is well documented. Mangini was a ballboy with New England and rose through the ranks thanks to Belichick’s recognition of his work ethic. Mangini ultimately became defensive coordinator of the Patriots and was one of several Belichick assistants to get jobs elsewhere. A year after becoming head coach of the Jets in 2006, Mangini notified the league of Belichick’s practice of filming defensive assistants for playcall signals and the scandal became known as spygate. To say the two became mortal enemies after the incident would be an understatement.

Mangini’s Jets teams went 2-4 against Belichick’s Patriots from 2006-2008, but this will be the first meeting between the two with Mangini as head coach of the Browns. I mentioned this factor when I predicted the Patriots would cover the spread, figuring Belichick will want to stick it to Eric if he has the chance. It also appears as if Belichick has already gotten started with his games.

In a news conference Wednesday, Belichick said several times that the Browns run a West Coast offense. Asked about Belichick’s assertion, Mangini laughed off the comment while offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, another former Belichick assistant, did not describe Cleveland’s offense as a West Coast one. So if Cleveland does not run a West Coast offense, why would Belichick describe it as such? Likely because he’s trying to mess with the coaches.

Maybe Belichick knows Cleveland plays it conservatively with many quick, short passes like a West Coast offense and he’s trying to dare them into taking some chances figuring it will lead to turnovers. Whatever it is, you know Bill is getting the game started before kickoff looking for any advantage he can get. I’m already looking forward to it!

Bill Belichick Says He Was Once John F. Kennedy for Halloween

Bill Belichick actually attempted to have fun at some point in his life?  The same guy who has made a living out of snubbing people on post-game handshakes?  Maybe he was just trying to fit in with society, but the Patriots coach told reporters during his press conference on Friday morning that he was dressed up as John F. Kennedy for Halloween during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Belichick would have been 10 years old during the Crisis, so that actually kind of makes sense.

While all the other kids were dressing up as ghosts and monsters and whatever other fun costumes kids came up with in the 60s, little Billy decided to dress as the most important man in the world at a time of crisis.  The ironic thing is Belichick probably takes his coaching job more seriously than JFK took his presidency, and I’m not saying Kennedy wasn’t serious enough.  He probably lost point with the judges for being too serious.

Where Is the Media Outcry Over Bill Belichick’s Repeated 4th Down Call?

The media has proven itself to be exactly what we thought they were: results-oriented rather than process-oriented, not unlike the way most people are in life. While the top story of the week from the NFL weekend (aside from Tony Romo’s injury) has been the brutal call for the Steelers against the Dolphins, there’s hardly been a mention of Bill Belichick’s decision to go for another 4th down conversion late in a close game. Why is that? Because the Patriots won the game. Had they lost, this would be all the talk. Let’s recap the choice.

With just under two minutes, the Pats were up three on the Chargers. New England had a 4th and 1 at their 49. If they convert, the game is over. If they get stopped, the Chargers are 15-20 yards away from a reasonable distance field goal to tie the game. The Pats handed the ball off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis who was stuffed running left. San Diego got the ball, completed two passes to Antonio Gates for 20 yards to set up a 4th down field goal from 45 yards out. A false start penalty backed them up five yards and kicker Kris Brown sailed it wide right, giving New England a win. Had Brown made the field goal, they would have gone to overtime. Had they lost, people would be all over Bill like last year.

Because we DH the guy who went 0-for-4 with four line drives over the guy who went 2-for-4 with an infield single and a bloop job, we will review Belichick’s controversial decision to see if the process was right.

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WTF Was Belichick Thinking? Worst Decision Ever

Bill BelichickWhereas the Maurice Jones-Drew decision to kneel at the 1 was questionable, there’s no debate about the Patriots’ decision to try for a first down on 4th and 2 and their 29 with two minutes left. It was simply a horrendous, stupid call. The end result for the game explains every reason why it was a brutal call. I can’t imagine anyone having watched that game not wondering what the bleep the Pats were thinking when they decided to go for it in that situation. The bad decisions, as glaring as that one was, doesn’t even end with that call.

Despite rolling up 31 points on Indy and being up by just 10 with under eight minutes left, the Pats went conservative and decided it was time to switch up the gameplan and start running it out. They got a blessing in an interception at the 31 of the Colts and instead of going for the jugular, they played it conservatively and settled for the field goal to go up 34-21 with 4 minutes left. I’m still wondering why they didn’t try for a touchdown especially given the way they had moved the ball all game. Lastly, when Joseph Addai broke loose on a run with 1:20 left, they should have done what the Jets did and let him walk into the end zone. The guy who thought he was making a “game saving” tackle wound up making a win-preventing stop. You telling me Brady couldn’t have set the team up for a field goal with 1:15 on the clock? I would have taken my odds with that compared the Colts chances of scoring from a yard out with four tries.

Awful, awful, awful decision by Belichick. I cannot believe how a guy can be that smart so much of the time can make such a poor choice at such a critical moment. Unbelievable.

Bill Belichick Ripped in Question on Jeopardy for ‘Hissy Fit’

As previously mentioned here at LBS, Bill Belichick has quite the reputation as a poor sport. He’s made plenty of headlines for his lack of handshakes with Eric Mangini, and he even has a history of being a jerk dating back to his time in Cleveland. Even if that’s the case, I’m not sure how that gives a factually-based TV quiz show like Jeopardy the right to rip him in one of their programs. They’ve cracked on Matt Leinart before, and this time it was Belichick who was the victim:

Threw a hissy fit? I’m not so sure that’s the type of language I would have chosen. Seems to me like they’re editorializing more than giving straight facts. If they wanted to get the question across, why didn’t they ask what team lost the Super Bowl after going 16-0 in the regular season?

(via With Leather)

Those Sneaky, Sneaky, Patriots and Their Kicking Tricks

We may give the Pats some crap for being busted for cheating last year, but I’ll give credit where it’s due: Bill Belichick is one creative coach who knows the rule book pretty well. You might remember a few years ago when the Patriots had Doug Flutie drop-kick an extra point when it appeared as if they were lining up for two. The move caught everyone off guard and it worked. This time the Patriots were trying to ice a 13-0 lead at Buffalo with five minutes left. Instead of trying to throw into a horrible wind in a third and long situation, the Patriots elected to have Matt Cassel drop a punt, Sammy Baugh style. And he uncorked a beauty!

This is just further evidence to dispute Belichick’s claims that he didn’t know he was violating the rules with the videotapes. If there’s any coach who knows the rule book and tries to come up with ways to outsmart people within the guidelines it’s certainly Belichick and the Patriots. Probably serves them right as karma that they didn’t make the playoffs despite their 11-5 record.

Bill Belichick Offers Advice to Urban Meyer on Blowing Teams Out

Convenient that two pretty certified jerks are good friends inside the football coaching circle. Think about it: Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer have a lot in common; Belichick used to run up the score last year, Meyer’s doing it this year. Naturally, after seeing Florida blow out South Carolina Saturday, Belichick had some words of advice for Meyer on handling his players:

Who knows better than Belichick what it’s like to have a team that’s dominating opponents, and making it look easy in the process? And who knows better how the hype that accompanies being ranked No. 3 and remaining in the national title hunt can adversely affect a team?

“I had a very nice call from Coach Belichick, and he said just make sure you stay on top of them because they are going to be hearing how good they are,” Meyer said Sunday morning. “When you watch film, we still can be a lot better.”

Will Belichick counsel them on advice prior to the National Championship game should the Gators reach that point? Interestingly enough, Meyer was also pressured to answer a question whether or not Utah (currently undefeated and where he coached prior to Florida) deserved a shot at the title game ahead of a one-loss Florida team. No way they do, but it sure puts Meyer in a bad spot to answer the question. And we all know what the answer is, of course.

(via Ben Maller)