It marks the first time that Belichick has secured the award, which was established by the PFWA in 1993 and previously won by former Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli both in 2003 and 2007.
A season removed from a 7-9 record, New England’s rebuilt roster went 10-7 and returned to the playoffs for the 19th time under Belichick. Seven consecutive wins were logged in the process after a 3-5 start.
A draft class featuring PFWA All-Rookie selections in quarterback Mac Jones and defensive tackle Christian Barmore played a part in why. As did veteran All-AFC selections in outside linebacker Matthew Judon, cornerback J.C. Jackson and special teams captain Matthew Slater.
The Patriots had guaranteed north of $160 million in unrestricted free agency one March after ranking at the bottom of the league in cap space. In addition to Judon, who would post a career-high 12.5 sacks, the external signings included wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, guard Ted Karras, nose tackle Davon Godchaux, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and cornerback Jalen Mills.
Also reacquired was right tackle Trent Brown in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders that involved a restructured one-year, $9 million contract and a swap of 2022 fifth- and seventh-round picks.
Thursday stood as the 22-year anniversary of Belichick’s arrival as New England’s head coach. He will turn 70 in April.