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Patriot Reign: Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion
     

Patriot Reign: Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion

4.3 32
by Michael Holley
 

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When Bill Belichick arrived in New England, the Patriots were a laughingstock, an organization with a losing record and a roster of overpaid, underperforming players. So how did a head coach with a questionable record transform this team, garner three Lombardi trophies in four years, and -- with the Pats' 2005 Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles -- cement

Overview

When Bill Belichick arrived in New England, the Patriots were a laughingstock, an organization with a losing record and a roster of overpaid, underperforming players. So how did a head coach with a questionable record transform this team, garner three Lombardi trophies in four years, and -- with the Pats' 2005 Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles -- cement the team's place as an NFL dynasty?

With unprecedented access granted by Belichick and his staff, author Michael Holley spent two years with the coach, his team, and his brain trust. Holley provides insights into how Belichick and his coaching cabinet prepare for opponents, evaluate talent, run the draft, and design their offensive and defensive schemes. Patriot Reign captures Belichick at his most candid, and what emerges is a portrait of a complicated man who is cerebral, yes, but also tough, demanding, stubborn, funny, profane, and a master strategist.

Frank, uncompromising, and stunning, Patriot Reign is required reading for football fans who want to understand what makes a champion tick

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Editorial Reviews

Peter King
“Enlightening...An X-and-O guy’s dream…the best thing I’ve read on football in recent years...Superb.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061749193
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
197,011
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Patriot Reign
Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion

Chapter One

The Art of the Game

Bill Belichick has moments that few people see or imagine, moments when he is no longer the premier strategist of his profession. These are the times when he could be the guy in the next cubicle, any other father, husband, or son. These breaks from brilliance make him a stronger coach. They remind him that briefly stepping away from his football vision can actually allow him to see more of it.

There are times when the diagrammed plays on the erasable board in his office are for an audience of two -- his sons, Stephen and Brian. There are times when the brainteasers he attempts to solve are provided by members of his family, not by other coaches. "Do you know what 'discrete' means?" he said one day after a conversation with Brian. His younger son -- who attends Brookline's Dexter School, John F. Kennedy's alma mater -- was studying vocabulary words. "Discrete" was one of them. "It's not the same as 'discreet,' " Belichick said. "Brian's class is going over words that have similar sounds with different meanings. That's a good one."

There was the time he tried to put on one of his favorite sweaters and could barely get it over his shoulders. Laundry mistake. He called his wife, Debby, to talk about it. He heard a lot of laughter coming from the phone. "It's not funny," he said with a smirk, even though he knew it was.

What most surprises people who don't know him is how much he enjoys a good laugh, usually when he's away from work and sometimes when he's at it. He earned a reputation for giving bland descriptions during his press conferences, where his personality is the sacrifice to protecting the goods. Press conferences are part of his game plans -- he prepares for them at least fifteen to twenty minutes per day -- so he is especially conscious of saying or implying anything that will give an opponent an edge. By the time he walks into his morning briefings with the New England media, he has already broken them down. He has predicted the incendiary topics of the day, sketched an outline of how he will respond to those topics, and offered suggestions to his players on how they should respond too. He has mastered an indifferent look during these conferences, yet when they are over he can easily recall details about latearriving reporters, opinion-makers he hasn't seen in a while, and questioners he didn't recognize. When his conversation is no longer on the record, it's as if some hidden masseuse has suddenly relieved him of tension points.

He can be relaxed during television production meet-ings, depending on the broadcast crew for the game. He's been extremely loose with Phil Simms, Greg Gumbel, and Armen Keteyian of CBS. He trusts them enough to joke with them. Once he went into a meeting seeing if he could needle Simms. "Phil, I've heard you've been ripping the shit out of me," he said to the former Giants quarterback. "That's all I hear from people: 'Simms is ripping your ass during the broadcast.' " Simms didn't fall for it. He knew that Belichick wouldn't leave anything to hearsay and that if he had indeed ripped Belichick, the coach would know exactly when it happened, down and distance included. "Bullshit," Simms said. "All I do is talk about how smart you are. We call you the smartest coach ever every week." Belichick laughed, leaned back in his chair, and acted as if he were getting ready for a card game with his friends.

It helps that Simms has known Belichick since 1979, but that's not the only reason Belichick respects him and his crew. He is even more impressed with their preparation. They are often dressed casually in these meetings -- T-shirts, baseball caps, flip-flops -- but they always have a plan for what is going to be discussed. Simms is indeed their quarterback, so they all watch film and jot down observations to present to Belichick. Their hard work makes him so comfortable that he often sits in the meetings, feet propped up, telling stories. He once told them that he ran a marathon and was spotted by Giants fans. "They saw me, and one fan says, 'Look, there's Belichick of the Giants. They still don't have a running game!' "

On some days when things are quiet at Gillette Stadium-- after the Saturday morning walk-through and before the Saturday evening coaches' meeting -- Belichick is visited by one of his three dogs. Sometimes he entertains Tom Brady -- a sports fan with an appreciation of sports history -- by telling tales about the old Giants. He once called defensive lineman Richard Seymour into his office so they could watch tape and talk about some of the dominant players of the NFC East in the 1980s.

He may have been born in Tennessee and raised in Maryland, but he's got a lot of Northeast humor in him. He can be clever, sarcastic, and profane. Coming from his of- fice it's not unusual to hear the voices of Frank Rizzo and Sol Rosenberg, the characters dreamed up by the Jerky Boys, the notorious telephone pranksters from Queens. When he isn't listening to their funny stories, he tells a few of his own. He tells one about a family vacation in Europe in the mid-1990s. No matter where they went, the Belichicks saw dozens of Europe's aged churches. They saw landmarks and a certain recurring icon. At one point Brian turned to his parents and said, "Who is this guy? We're seeing him everywhere."

The "guy" was Jesus Christ.

"I don't know if I should tell that story," Belichick says, shaking his head. "People are going to think we're bad parents."

He has gone from twenty-six-year-old coach-peer to fifty-two-year-old coach-teacher. He has learned to be more of a negotiator with his own team, making compromises in some areas -- or at least being able to listen -- without selling out his core beliefs.

Patriot Reign
Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion
. Copyright © by Michael Holley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Peter King
“Enlightening...An X-and-O guy’s dream…the best thing I’ve read on football in recent years...Superb.”

Meet the Author

MICHAEL HOLLEY is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Patriot Reign, Never Give Up (with Tedy Bruschi), and Red Sox Rule. He was a Boston Globe sportswriter for ten years, and he is the cohost of The Big Show on Boston sports radio station WEEI. Holley lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and two sons.

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Patriot Reign: Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Chaswick More than 1 year ago
Pretty straightforward account of the dynastic foundation. Great read/reread following the amazing 2014 Super Bowl season.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great story on how this incredible organization became one of the best. As someone who was young as this book is taking place, it gave me a better idea of what exactly transpired in this era. I would also recommend reading War Room by the same author for more recent (up to 2010) happenings
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FOURH LUMBARDY TROPHY SINCE TWO THOUSAND. BEST CORNERBACK JERREL REVIS
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Belichick is an outstanding coach and this book gives a little insight on how he made his legacy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My faves are brady, edleman, gronk. We all are patriots :)
rmd270 More than 1 year ago
This is the first Michael Holley book on the New England Patriots organization. This story was much lighter and fun to read than the more serious and detailed "War Room" which is the second book written on the same subject about 5 years later. I really felt this was more open, fun and uplifting but not up to the football junkie items contained in "War Room" While both are different this is the more fun book and will appeal to the casual fan more than the more techno War Room book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go patriots! I thought holley did a FANTASTIC job on this book. I am 11 so i love the pats and i know about the superbowls from constantly watching videos but i wanted to know more so my dad gave me this book and i loved it! If i could give this more than 5 stars i would. I hope the pats can repeat this year!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AS A PRO FOOTBALL FAN,FOR MANY YEARS,IT WAS GEAT TO SEE HOW MUCH EFFORT IS PUT IN TO GET A TEAM READY FOR THIER NEXT OPPONENT,NOT ONLY BETWEEN THE COACHES BUT EVERY ONE ASSOCIATED WITH THE TEAM.IT WAS GREAT WRITING AND WORK FROM MICHAEL HOLLEY.
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tprice More than 1 year ago
Michael Holley did a great job drawing in accurate information. This book is a must for any football player or anyone that enjoys watching the sport. If you want to know the true history behind the New England Patriot's football team and Bill Belichick then this book would be a wonderful read for you. This book truly revealed the great moments the Patriots had and gave to us.
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