When Bill Belichick puts on his hoodie and takes to the sidelines for Super Bowl 51, he will tie Tom Landry for the most postseason appearances as a head coach. Belichick has guided the New England Patriots to a ridiculous .714 winning percentage in 35 postseason appearances. It’s genuinely hard to typify just how great Belichick has been as a coach in general, but especially when the lights shine the brightest.
Belichick is on the verge of a historic feat, as another Super Bowl ring means that he will have won five with the Patriots. That would make Belichick the first bench boss in NFL history to win five Super Bowls with the same team. However, Belichick’s Super Bowl experience isn’t limited to New England, as he was the defensive coordinator for the 1986 and 1990 New York Giants teams that ended up hoisting the trophy. All told, Belichick may be the greatest postseason coach to ever grace a football field. But let’s take a closer look at how Belichick and his vaunted defenses have performed in the Super Bowl.
Belichick As A Defensive Wizard
Belichick cut his teeth under legendary coach Bill Parcells. Belichick spent years under the master of the 3-4 defense, learning its intricacies and minute details to the point where I’m sure he could draw up an effective game plan in his sleep. Belichick had direct control over the defense or defensive play-calling in a Super Bowl on nine occasions and his defenses held their opposition to 22.3 ppg. Comparably, those nine opponents averaged 25.2 ppg through the regular season.
Belichick’s defense has faced the league’s highest-scoring regular season team in the Super Bowl on three occasions (1990 Bills, 1996 Packers, 2001 Rams). In those three games, opposing offenses were held to 23.7 points (compared with a combined average of 28.9 ppg) while being forced into a collective 10 turnovers.
It’s obvious that Belichick has always been a defensive mastermind, but his ability to limit some of the best offensive teams in history in the biggest game is astounding. The Patriots defense finished the regular season No. 1 in the NFL in scoring defense. The last time New England did that, they won the Super Bowl.
No Killer Instinct?
This may sound odd given their success, but the Belichick-led Patriots have struggled mightily to close out their Super Bowl appearances. In Belichick’s six Super Bowls with the Pats, New England has never been down at halftime and has outscored opponents by 19 points (3.2 ppg). However, that Patriots have been outscored by 14 points in the second half of their past six Super Bowl appearances (2.3 ppg).
This may not sound like much, but if you take away New England’s explosive 14-point quarter in Super Bowl XLIX, that means that Belichick and company were outscored by an average of 4.8 ppg from Super Bowl XXXVI to XLVI.
Now, maybe this is ultimately nothing more than an anomaly, but you would like to see Belichick get his team a little more fired up to close out the biggest game of the year.
As we’ve already gone over, Belichick has been among the league’s best in the coaching ranks for over a decade. Belichick, who is now the longest tenured coach in the NFL, has watched the other 31 teams in the NFL employ 168 head coaches during his time with the Pats.
This experience cannot be overlooked, as Belichick has gone a ridiculous 22-3 since 2010 against coaches he has faced for the first time. That speaks to both Belichick’s amazing coaching ability and the turnstile approach of other organizations. This could spell good news for New England backers, as Dan Quinn will be squaring off against Belichick as a head coach for the first time in his career.
Now, Quinn has only been a head coach for two seasons but he was also a highly sought-after defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. Those Seahawks faced off against the Pats in Super 49. Belichick developed a perfect pass-heavy offensive attack that saw Tom Brady account for 328 yards and four touchdowns. So, Belichick has already proven he can develop a scheme to counteract Quinn’s defense.