MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas is one of the best sports writers out there and she did a fantastic job writing about the relationship between the best coach in the NFL, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and the best coach in college football, University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban. You can read it all here and it’s certainly worth your time.
Vrentas looks at how the two met (Belichick’s father plays a pivotal role), how the two have influenced one another’s coaching and strategy over the years, and how the two used to meet in secret, much to the chagrin of their now-informed head coaches.
They agreed to meet in West Point, N.Y., at a little hotel with a name neither can remember. For two men with deep connections to Navy, the locale was a surprising choice. All the better.
This was in the late 1980s, summertime; they were both a couple years away from turning 40, and neither man’s name meant then what it does today. Nick Saban flew in from Houston, where he coached the Oilers’ defensive backs. Bill Belichick, then the Giants’ defensive coordinator, drove up from New Jersey with 16-millimeter film canisters and a projector stashed in his car.
They were two assistants from opposing teams, planning to spend the weekend discussing the intricacies of the Cover-2 defense. The rendezvous might have gotten either man fired had their bosses found out about it, so it was conducted with a stealth more befitting of the military academy down the road. “We kind of had a secret mission,” says Saban, “to go where nobody would expect us to be.”
[Giants head coach Bill] Parcells claims he knew about it at the time, but [Oilers head coach Jerry] Glanville only learned about it a few years later. “If I’d have known, he would have been fired,” the old coach says with a tinge of mischievousness. “[Nick] was smart enough not to tell us.”
“That daggum Saban,” Glanville grouses.
This is just one of many stories that Vrentas relays about their evolving relationship over the years, including how they worked together with the Cleveland Browns, how Nick Saban left his impact on the Miami Dolphins, how Belichick developed the “Belichick 2” style of coverage, and much, much more.
Back in the day, who would have imagined they would combine for 13 championships in their respective sports?
Read the story here. All of it.