Did bill belichick play football ? Bill Belichick became known to the world on a cool winter night in Tampa, Florida. January 27, 1991. Super Bowl XXV. New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills. Then 38 years old, Belichick was New York’s defensive coordinator, and the Giants defense, led by legendary Lawrence Taylor, allowed fewer points than any other that season, most recently beating the 49ers and Joe Montana—back-to-back Super Bowl champions—in the NFC Championship Game.
The Bills, however, were seven-point favorites with a historically great no-huddle offense led by a pair of Hall of Famers, quarterback Jim Kelly and running back Thurman Thomas (not to mention two Hall of Fame receivers, Andre Reed and James Lofton). In two prior playoff games, the Bills racked up 995 yards and 95 points.
That night, Belichick, now known as a phenomenal contrarian, went contrary to himself. He always preached stop the run. Whatever happens, stop the run. But for this game he said, “Let Thomas run.”
Belichick knew that Bills offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda, who gave him his first NFL job, let his players call their own plays, and he thought Kelly to be poor at reading defenses. Shutting down Thomas meant Kelly possibly burning them for 300 yards or more, but giving Thomas slack on the ground could keep Kelly from taking over by air.
Belichick joined the Giants in 1979, working his way up from special teams assistant, and he’d worked in head coach Bill Parcells’ thick, dark shadow since 1983. But then the Giants let Thomas run for 135 yards and held Kelly to 212 passing yards and no touchdowns, and they won 20-19. It was one of the NFL’s iconic games. The Pro Football Hall of Fame now has Belichick’s game plan from the night on display (also the metallic red Giants jacket he wore—The Hoodie was still 14 years away).
After that game, NFL media described Belichick as “brilliant,” “original” and “genius.” They finally saw what others had known for years. Peter King, who covered the Giants for Newsday until 1989, said, “Lawrence Taylor, maybe the best player in the NFL—certainly the best defensive player—and all these great football players, looked at Belichick like, ‘This guy has a secret that nobody else has.’ ”
It was the Giants’ second Super Bowl win in the five years since Belichick became defensive coordinator. Since then, of course, he’s won four more Super Bowls as the New England Patriots’ head coach. He’s also become quite possibly the NFL’s greatest head coach ever and maybe its greatest provocateur, as well as one of pop culture’s great icons of sullen, controversial, defiant excellence. He is as famous for his hard scowl and gray-hooded sweatshirt with sleeves half hacked off as his coaching greatness.
Did Bill Belichick Play in the NFL?
Bill Belichick is widely viewed as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, and although he has made a massive impact on the league during his time in it, he has never suited up and actually played in an NFL game before.
Bill Belichick Coaching Career
Belichick’s coaching career is extensive. His time in the NFL began in 1975 when he took an assistant job working for the Baltimore Colts fresh out of college. He was in Baltimore for one season before he joined the Detroit Lions as their assistant special teams coach, where he later added tight ends and wide receivers to his coaching duties the following year.
Belichick only spent two seasons in Detroit before a short one-year stint with the Denver Broncos in a similar role in 1978. 1979 is when Belichick began to gain some stability in his coaching career as he joined the New York Giants and stayed there until 1990. He acted as a defensive assistant and special teams coach until he was named the defense coordinator in 1985.
In 1991, Belichick got his first shot as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns, a title he held until 1995. During his tenure as the head guy in Cleveland, the team compiled a record of 36-44. The Browns moved their franchise to Baltimore, becoming the Ravens team we know. Not long after the change of scenery, Belichick was relieved of his duties.
1996 was the first year Belichick would be a member of the New England Patriots, serving as an assistant head coach and defensive backs coach under Bill Parcells.
In 1999, a bizarre twist in Belichick’s coaching story unfolded as he became the New York Jets head coach for only one day. On Jan. 4, 2000, Belichick was introduced as head coach to the media. The day after his hiring was publicized, he turned it into a surprise resignation announcement instead.
Upon that change of heart in New York, Belichick rejoined the Patriots as their head coach and has remained in that position ever since. Belichick went on to win six Super Bowls with the Patriots and is viewed as one of the game’s greatest minds.
Belichick will soon be enshrined in Canton, OH, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game as a coach. But one thing Belichick cannot say he has done is played in the NFL.
Bill Belichick’s career NFL coaching stats
Here are some of Bill Belichick’s notable career achievements and statistics:Six-time Super Bowl champion as head coach (2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, 2018)
- Two-time Super Bowl champion as defensive coordinator (with New York Giants in 1986, 1990)
- Three-time Super Bowl runner-up as head coach (2007, 2011, 2017)
- One-time Super Bowl runner-up as assistant head coach (with Patriots in 1996)
- Three-time AP NFL Coach of the Year (2003, 2007, 2010)
- Four-time SI.com NFL Coach of the Year (2003, 2004, 2007, 2010)
- ESPY for Best Coach/Manager (2004)
- NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
- NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
- NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
- PFWA Executive of the Year (2021)
- Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World (2003)
- Sports Emmy Winner (2021)
- Career totals (through 2021 season):
- 321-156 (.673) overall record — One of three head coaches in NFL history to win at least 300 games
- 290-143 (.670) regular season record
- 31-13 (.705) postseason record — most playoff wins as NFL head coach
- 284-111 (.719) record with the Patriots
- Nine Super Bowl appearances as NFL head coach (most of any NFL head coach)
- Six Super Bowl wins as NFL head coach (most of any NFL head coach)
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