“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” — Ron Swanson
Bill Belichick was a busy man over the last year. Not only did he coach the New England Patriots to another division title and playoff appearance, he also was called to serve as an expert on two panels celebrating the NFL’s 100th anniversary: Belichick was among the voters for the league’s all-time team, and a presenter during the accompanying NFL Network show, and also helped pick this year’s increased Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
A reminder: to honor the league turning 100 years old, the Hall of Fame decided to raise the number of people to get inducted in 2020. While the “normal” finalists — including ex-Patriot Richard Seymour, who missed the cut for the second straight year — were voted on in the usual procedure, the so-called 15-member “centennial slate” was picked by a different panel that also had Belichick on it functioning as a pro football historian.
Long-time NFL columnist Gary Myers was a part of both voter groups, and he shared the following anecdote as part of a bigger story he wrote about the Hall of Fame selection process for Sports Illustrated. This short excerpt illustrates just how much Belichick invests in his craft and seems to love the game of football, whether it is coaching the Patriots or picking players from the league’s 100-year history to make the Hall of Fame:
I was also part of the 25-member Blue Ribbon panel that selected the seniors, contributors and coaches last month. The committee was comprised of 13 voters from the 48 regular selectors, seven Hall of Famers and five historians, including Patriots coach Bill Belichick. I sat next to him for the more than 10-hour meeting and I saw the very personable side of him that he rarely shows in his press conferences.
He helped educate me on the players from the 1920s, 30s and 40s and I helped educate him on the HOF process. He was studying film on the seniors right up until the meeting started at 8 a.m. Is anybody surprised?
Studying grainy black-and-white film from the NFL’s infancy before an 8 a.m. meeting is just peak Belichick. Even at age 67, the man lives football and remains a student of its history — one he shaped quite a bit as assistant coach in New York and head coach in New England. His work ethic as well as his respect for the game are unparalleled, and a big reason why he has become the most successful man to ever coach in the league.