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#pounditFriday, December 1, 2023

Peyton Manning shares incredible Bill Belichick spite story

Bill Belichick during a game

Nov 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks on the field before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick was not pleased with how former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell handled the end of the coach’s tenure with the team, and he apparently found a creative way to express that not long after Modell fired him.

Belichick was the head coach of the Browns from 1991-1995. Midway through the 1995 season, Modell announced he was moving the franchise to Baltimore, where the team later became the Ravens. Belichick was told he would remain the head coach after the move, but Modell fired him following the season.

According to Peyton Manning, Belichick used the 1998 Pro Bowl to get back at Modell. Manning said during Monday night’s “ManningCast” that Belichick added former Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware to the 1998 Pro Bowl roster just to spite Modell. Belichick was the head coach of the AFC team after Bill Parcells bowed out for health reasons. He added Boulware as the AFC’s “need player.” Manning, who was on the team, says Belichick chose Boulware just so Modell would have to pay the former linebacker a $1 million bonus.

“One time, he picked Peter Boulware because he knew Art Modell would have to pay Boulware a $1 million bonus if Boulware made the Pro Bowl,” Manning recalled. “Belichick hated Modell.”

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted that Belichick did not have many players to choose from. The AFC and NFC coach were told to choose a “need player” who had been named a first alternate at defensive end or linebacker in the initial round of Pro Bowl voting. Still, Boulware said at the time that he was “kind of shocked” he was chosen.

Belichick would surely deny that he chose Boulware based on anything other than merit, but Manning has no reason to lie. Who knew Belichick could be that spiteful?

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