Skip to content

Bill Belichick: Larry Fitzgerald “might end up being the best ever”

Larry Fitzgerald AP

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is prone to talking up whatever team he’s preparing to face next, but Belichick reserved some particularly high praise for a receiver he’s game planning for this week, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald.

Speaking to Arizona reporters on a conference call, Belichick said Fitzgerald has the talent to become the best in NFL history.

He’s a great, great receiver, will go down as one of the all-time greats and might end up being the best ever — I don’t know,” Belichick said. “He has size, quickness, ability to separate and gets open, exceptional hands. He’s good short, deep, with the ball in his hands after the catch; strong, very smart, sets up his routes well.”

Belichick added that the Cardinals’ offense does a lot to make it difficult for opposing defenses to focus their coverage on Fitzgerald.

“They move him around, they put him in a lot of different spots, it’s hard to even find [him],” Belichick said. “You have no idea where he’s going to line up from play to play. He has a very big route tree. He runs all the routes with double moves off of them and complementary moves so one route sets up another. It’s very hard to find him, and then it’s very hard to defend him. Again, he’s just as dangerous going down the field as he is taking a shorter pass and running with it, so that’s not really the answer, either — just letting him catch it in front of you and not give up any big plays because he can make plays there, too. Try to keep the ball out of his hands, but that’s not easy.”

Asked in an ESPN interview what he made of Belichick’s praise, Fitzgerald returned the compliment.

“Bill Belichick is the best coach to ever coach, arguably, with the Vince Lombardis and the Chuck Nolls,” Fitzgerald said. “For him to even know my name I was taken aback.”

Belichick knows a lot more than Fitzgerald’s name. He knows Fitzgerald is one of the most talented receivers to play the game.

Permalink 67 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
67 Responses to “Bill Belichick: Larry Fitzgerald “might end up being the best ever””
  1. voiceofreasonsays says: Sep 13, 2012 8:15 PM

    I agree. He’s a hall of famer today. The moment they let a totally unfeared player on the football field like Curtis Martin in, about 40 players in this era earned it.

  2. electionconfidential says: Sep 13, 2012 8:16 PM

    Most “great receivers” have someone on their team who can throw.

  3. andrewproughcfe says: Sep 13, 2012 8:17 PM

    Fitzgerald said, “For him to even know my name I was taken aback.”

    ========================

    He knows your name, alright. Trust me – he’s got film on you, pal.

  4. aljack88 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:18 PM

    how long before the first hate comment…..

  5. delrmi05 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:18 PM

    That’s because he has secret tape on Arizona’s practice.

    Kidding, just a Pat’s fan getting it out of the way early.

  6. the1849ers says: Sep 13, 2012 8:19 PM

    No, but he may end up the best receiver to play on a crappy team his whole career.

  7. bobhk says: Sep 13, 2012 8:20 PM

    Oh the gushing….

  8. jamezz23 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:21 PM

    Not with those qbs. Calvin Johnson is the best anyways bill.

  9. hyzers says: Sep 13, 2012 8:21 PM

    Bills a smart guy which is why he said the word “MIGHT” Now Belichick yourself before you wreck yourself.

  10. fordmandalay says: Sep 13, 2012 8:23 PM

    He might have to resort to throwing the ball to himself to do it.

  11. 84sgl says: Sep 13, 2012 8:23 PM

    While his loyalty may never allow him to have Rice, Moss, or Owens-like stats, Fitz is the most talented receiver to ever play in the league. It isn’t even close. He doesn’t just catch the ball, he jumps and attacks the ball. Kind of like Dwight Howard on a rebound, his strength can’t be matched by any DB in this league. It has been a pleasure to witness his career. I am not a Cardinals fan but what a shame it has been for that teams’ management to never secure him a stable QB.

    The fact that he is committed to one team makes fans respect him even more, though I don’t think anyone would be mad if he left for a better team with a better QB. The Cards are one of the last teams in the league without a franchise or potential QB..

  12. rodgers419 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:24 PM

    Calvin Johnson just jumps high.

  13. timb12 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:24 PM

    Did they say this before or after they made out? Haha. It’s hard to judge guys. Do you judge them by numbers? Because I’m sure Larry Fitzgerald is a lot better than his numbers indicate. And it shouldn’t be held against him that he doesn’t have a decent #2 or a quarterback or much of a running game lol. If you lost the best players ever do you go by stats or talent? And how do you even compare talent from different eras?

  14. jimmygrahamchrisivory says: Sep 13, 2012 8:25 PM

    the1849ers says:
    Sep 13, 2012 8:19 PM
    No, but he may end up the best receiver to play on a crappy team his whole career.

    Which is the reason why Bill says he may end up being the best ever. He’s put up HOF #’s while having terrible QB throwing to him for most of his career. Take off the biased glasses and stop hating, 9ers fan.

  15. 84sgl says: Sep 13, 2012 8:28 PM

    Calvin is great too but he has a couple of years before I am willing to put him in Fitz’ category. I mistakenly labeled Sterling Sharpe a HOF candidate too early. I wish no injury on anyone but lets just hope Calvin remains healthy. If he can keep doing it a few more years he very well WILL surpass Fitz. I still think Fitz can do more than just catch a jump ball.

  16. raiderapologist says: Sep 13, 2012 8:32 PM

    Where do you rate YOUR coach, Larry?

  17. bobhk says: Sep 13, 2012 8:35 PM

    jimmygrahamchrisivory says:
    Sep 13, 2012 8:25 PM
    the1849ers says:
    Sep 13, 2012 8:19 PM
    No, but he may end up the best receiver to play on a crappy team his whole career.

    Which is the reason why Bill says he may end up being the best ever. He’s put up HOF #’s while having terrible QB throwing to him for most of his career. Take off the biased glasses and stop hating, 9ers fan.
    ———-
    I think you give niners too little credit. I am a niners fan and I have nothing but admiration for Fitz.

    However, let’s wait before putting him ahead of Rice. Most people you poll won’t agree with that notion. Yeah, he had Montana and Rice. He also played quite well quite late in his career.
    I don’t think we have to knock either one!

  18. karlsummers says: Sep 13, 2012 8:37 PM

    Best ever? LMAO.

    Sincerely,
    Jerry Rice

  19. suheveryone says: Sep 13, 2012 8:38 PM

    Megatron will be much better

  20. tdrundmc says: Sep 13, 2012 8:39 PM

    Bill Belichick: Larry Fitzgerald “might end up being the best ever”

    Um no Bill, that’s going to be Calvin Johnson. And to the clown that said Calvin just jumps high, you obviously don’t watch football.

  21. fitzmagic1212 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:45 PM

    belichick beat my bills 17 games in a row and talked them up before each game like they were hall of famers as well lol. but do doubt fitzgerald is a monster..wish he had a qb

  22. CaJonMcChicken says: Sep 13, 2012 8:45 PM

    Game recognize game.

  23. pcoz99 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:49 PM

    Fitz isn’t anywhere near as fast as Moss or Megatron. Moss is the best ever IMO. No one as ever done more with less, or had more complex coverages against him in NFL history. Rice was more polished, but Moss is the best I’ve ever seen. Megatron in this pass happy league may have the best stats of all time when it’s all said and done. Fitz runs great routes, has great hands, but doesn’t have the TD’s or game breaking ability of Moss, Megatron or Rice. BB just buttering up his enemy this week.

  24. sasquash20 says: Sep 13, 2012 8:53 PM

    Jerry Rice and will always be the best ever. C.Johnson and Fitz are awesome, no doubt about it. But Rice is without question better. Remember for most of Rice’s career DBs could actually cover him without getting a sissy flag. If Rice played today he would be putting up even sicker numbers. Oh and I’m not a 49ers fan, sadly I’m a Eagles fan.

  25. spellingcops says: Sep 13, 2012 8:54 PM

    I think if Megatron stays healthy, he’ll go down as #1 ever.

  26. norcalmafia says: Sep 13, 2012 8:59 PM

    Fitz is great but not on the J Rice level or Moss.

  27. strctlylo says: Sep 13, 2012 9:01 PM

    this is just belichick stroking the other team. he does it every week, every team is hard to stop, moves the ball really well, plays good defense, plays good special teams. he will say similar things to whomever they play next week. it’s his m.o.

  28. ty49er4life says: Sep 13, 2012 9:04 PM

    If he had montana and young throwing to him he could be every bit as good as rice. But with the qbs he’s had he can’t get the opportunies to be the best. We saw what he did with an old Kurt warner

  29. isujames says: Sep 13, 2012 9:04 PM

    Might be, yea right.
    1. Rice
    2.Moss
    3.TO
    In that order, no exceptions.

  30. isujames says: Sep 13, 2012 9:07 PM

    Marvin Harrison is #4 on that list, as good as Fitzgerald could be/will be, he will never surpass that top four recieving corps.

  31. Corey W. says: Sep 13, 2012 9:13 PM

    That’s a stupid thing to say in a world with Calvin Johnson, maybe on Mars though.

  32. fiddytucker says: Sep 13, 2012 9:23 PM

    Fitz has always been healthy too. Just saying

  33. goldrush36 says: Sep 13, 2012 9:45 PM

    Megatron is a damn beast, no denying. Fitz has put up all pro numbers with absolutely terrible QB’s though. Then you see Megatron go up in triple and even quadruple coverage and bring down the ball. I really don’t think there is a wrong answer here. They should both by all theories at the very least get close to Jerry Rice because of the pass heavy tendency in the NFL today. I think Jerry would welcome either one into taking his place too. Both physical freaks and they have that similar work ethic that made Jerry great too.

  34. stoutfiles says: Sep 13, 2012 10:01 PM

    He won’t pass Rice’s numbers, so no. He might be better – he surely hasn’t had the caliber of QB’s that Rice had – but history only cares about the record book.

  35. elmaxoh says: Sep 13, 2012 10:09 PM

    Funny some guys mention Jerry Rice … Who was his QB again ? Oh yeah that one dude called : JOE MONTANA. Beside Warner who throws the ball to Fitz again ?

  36. preseasonchamps08 says: Sep 13, 2012 10:11 PM

    Fitz is awesome, no doubt. But to all saying he’s NEVER had a good QB- Have you heard of future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner? And yes, I realize before and since his QB’s have been dreadful, but he had a pretty good one for a few years.

  37. mempusa says: Sep 13, 2012 10:21 PM

    He also knows his weaknesses but we won’t hear about them. We’ll only get to see them exposed on Sunday. Pats 34 Cards 14

  38. amaf21 says: Sep 13, 2012 10:29 PM

    yes larry, he has plenty a lot of spy footage of you so he’d know best.

  39. tdrundmc says: Sep 13, 2012 10:41 PM

    Marvin Harrison is #4 on that list, as good as Fitzgerald could be/will be, he will never surpass that top four recieving corps.

    Harrison isn’t even in the top 20…Peyton made that little turd.

  40. j0esixpack says: Sep 13, 2012 10:43 PM

    Even Patriots haters know that Belichick is a complete football geek when it comes to the history of the game.

    He doesn’t drop compliments like that lightly.

    If anyone thinks the Patriots are taking the Cardinals lightly and not giving the team the respect they deserve, I think you have your answer right there.

    Of course, respecting your opponent is the most critical step in beating them too.

  41. j0esixpack says: Sep 13, 2012 10:54 PM

    @isujames

    My guess is that Belichick is one to look beyond the simple stats when assessing any player

    There’s easily a dozen criteria one should consider if attempting to determine the “best” of any position.

    Harrison is certainly in the mix though

  42. papichulo55 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:02 PM

    Fitz aint slow. He knows that Belichick is blowin smoke, lookin for some type of advantage. Hope that Fitz gives them three scores and 200 yards. Not hatin on Bill. One of the best in the history of the game. But as a Giants fan, I have come to love that ‘shut the hell up already’ smirk that he has during interviews after a tough loss…

  43. iamskywalker1985 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:03 PM

    Everbody foget he had Warner a couple years and almost won a superbowl? He’s pretty damn good…. def should end up top 5 all time

  44. mnomalley says: Sep 13, 2012 11:04 PM

    Ya because he was born in Minnesota and was the ball boy for the 98 Vikings. He learned a lot watching carter moss and jake reed.

  45. jviva77 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:07 PM

    Best ever? To subjective everyone has an opinion. All we have is numbers as proof who did great. Not having a qb will hurt his numbers and 10 years after hes done people will see stats. Jerry rice is great he had montana and young that certainly didnt hurt.

  46. crisper57 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:13 PM

    Some day, Megatron (what a stupid nickname) will be able to carry Larry’s jock.

  47. lionhammer says: Sep 13, 2012 11:31 PM

    pcoz99 says:
    Sep 13, 2012 8:49 PM
    Fitz isn’t anywhere near as fast as Moss or Megatron. Moss is the best ever IMO. No one as ever done more with less, or had more complex coverages against him in NFL history. Rice was more polished, but Moss is the best I’ve ever seen. Megatron in this pass happy league may have the best stats of all time when it’s all said and done. Fitz runs great routes, has great hands, but doesn’t have the TD’s or game breaking ability of Moss, Megatron or Rice. BB just buttering up his enemy this week.
    ________________________
    because Moss wasn’t part of 2 Pass happy offenses? Vikings and Patriots record-breaking offenses? Trying hard is part of being the best ever, so as far as I’m concerned Moss is out.

  48. bullcharger says: Sep 13, 2012 11:36 PM

    Jerry Rice is the greatest ever. Many people think he’s the greatest NFL player ever period. It’s not even close and Fitzgerald has no chance to get to that level. Rice’s numbers are completely off the charts. Belichick likes to blow smoke.

  49. dte421 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:37 PM

    It’s weird with all these comments about Fitz playing on a bad team with bad QB’s.

    I’m pretty sure he played about 60 games with a Hall of Fame QB in Warner and made the Super Bowl. I guess only the last two years count for revisionist historians though.

    There will never be another Jerry Rice. Period. When Fitz puts up 1200 yards at age 40 with a QB like Gannon throwing to him, then we can talk. For now, this is just ridiculous.

  50. bingobrown12 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:57 PM

    Puts on Belichick decoder ring……

    Pressure the QB don’t even let him look at Fitzgerald
    Double cover Fitzgerald don’t let him beat you deep
    and limit his YAC with good tackling.

    easier said then done.

  51. thestrategyexpert says: Sep 14, 2012 12:23 AM

    Over Calvin Johnson? HA!

  52. cardinalsfan87 says: Sep 14, 2012 12:25 AM

    This week Larry Fitzgerald will become the fastest player in NFL HISTORY to reach 700 catches. Enough said.

  53. thestrategyexpert says: Sep 14, 2012 12:26 AM

    Face it football fans, Barry was the best RB ever, and CJ is the best WR ever. Nobody can take that away from the Lions. Eat your jealous hearts out!

  54. nfltruths says: Sep 14, 2012 12:40 AM

    Larry had two years with a good quarter back, even though the cards had Kurt Warner for much longer, he only played really well for that two year stretch and as a 9-7 team getting into the playoffs the year they won the super bowl, they really just had a great playoff run. This coming from a cards fan.

    Just look at his stats from his first stint in the playoffs. He broke almost every single game record and single season playoff record in the book, and don’t just say because they had boldin on the other side because he missed a game or two in that run. Seriously, take boldin out you’re left with Edgerrin James at HB, Steve Breaston at @2 WR and Leonard Pope or Ben Patrick at TE. Who else other than Larry would they guard and he still produced freak numbers.

    Calvin is a close second right now in the league, only because he is younger and stats and longevity not where Fitz is at yet. But they both have some catching up to do to get to Rice and Moss numbers. I’m betting they both end up right at the top in today’s pass happy league.

  55. revroy78 says: Sep 14, 2012 1:16 AM

    And Bill has the secret tape to prove it.

  56. yaryers says: Sep 14, 2012 1:57 AM

    Please don’t tell me he called him “Chuck Nolls”. How has nobody notice this yet?

  57. edge661 says: Sep 14, 2012 2:52 AM

    Rice is the best ever.

  58. warrenpeacephotography says: Sep 14, 2012 2:52 AM

    the1849ers says: “No, but he may end up the best receiver to play on a crappy team his whole career.”
    ———————-

    You forgot that he played in a super bowl, and almost won it, not too many years ago,

  59. johnschatzan says: Sep 14, 2012 3:02 AM

    Anyone who says megatron is better than Fitzgerald does not know football. They are either a. Playing madden too much b. watching highlights and not games or c. Going strictly on fantasy football poits per game.

    I’m a bills fan. And ole hoodie talks up everyone he plays. Prob does that so he can lure them in one day as a free agent for half the asking price.

    As far as the claim goes though I don’t think he will surpass rice cause he doesn’t have Young and Montana. But he is one of the most talented recievers to ever hit the nfl.

  60. 808raiderinparadise says: Sep 14, 2012 3:35 AM

    Larry Fitzgerald traded for:

    Ryan Mallett
    Wes Welker and a 5th and 7th round pick.

    Lmao

  61. sunsbolts7 says: Sep 14, 2012 3:51 AM

    Larry Fitzgerald is 3 catches away from becoming the fastest EVER to reach 700 receptions in a career. And he’s got 16 months of leeway to get these 3 catches.

  62. discosucs2005 says: Sep 14, 2012 6:23 AM

    Seeing guys like Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald actually makes me appreciate Jerry Rice even more.

    Calvin Johnons – 6’5 236lbs
    Andre Johnson – 6’4 228lbs
    Larry Fitzgerald – 6’3 218lbs

    Jerry Rice – 6’2 200

    Even though Rice was never known as the most physically menacing wide receiver (unlike the above 3, particularly CJ who is an absolute freak of nature) none of the above are within even 100 yards of Rice’s best season (1995).

    And before anyone tries to play the QB card, remember that Calvin Johnson has had a 5000 yard passer throwing to him in his best season. Not to mention Jerry Rice’s season numbers were much higher when compared to the 1995 league average, compared to the above WRs and the averages of the current NFL.

    At some point someone will break most or all of Rice’s records, but it’s hard to believe that there will ever be anyone as dominant in the NFL again.

  63. tdrundmc says: Sep 14, 2012 7:53 AM

    There will never be another Jerry Rice. Period. When Fitz puts up 1200 yards at age 40 with a QB like Gannon throwing to him, then we can talk. For now, this is just ridiculous.

    Hey clown, last time I checked Rich Gannon was a solid NFL qb.

  64. crisper57 says: Sep 14, 2012 10:57 AM

    It cute that all these Lion fans, with their justifiable inferiority complex, come onto a Pats/Cards story to talk their guy up. Like the Lions have been the best at anything ever….ha!

  65. crisper57 says: Sep 14, 2012 12:04 PM

    There will never be another Jerry Rice. Period. When Fitz puts up 1200 yards at age 40 with a QB like Gannon throwing to him, then we can talk.

    Well, he put up 1,411 last year with Kolb and Skelton throwing to him, which I think is even more impressive.

  66. bcgreg says: Sep 14, 2012 12:31 PM

    @ thestrategyexpert

    Lions have no SB rings ever too. Only 0-16 team ever. Have given us Rod Marinelli as possibly worst HC ever (although Kotite makes it hard to claim that mantle).

    Oh, and Barry Sanders was great, but couldn’t hold Jim Brown’s jock. And Calvin Johnson needs to string a few of those great seasons together first. He’s only had 2 REALLY good seasons (2008, 2011), 1 very good season (2010), and 2 mediocre seasons (2007, 2009). He gets a pass on his rookie year. His rookie numbers were OK.

  67. scalfor3 says: Sep 14, 2012 12:47 PM

    1. Jerry Rice (duh)
    2. Randy Moss
    3. Larry Fitzgerald

    If megatron has a few more seasons like last year’s, he’ll be right in the middle of this discussion. I think Fitz is a more complete receiver, although megatron can be absolutely unstoppable at times.

    i like both of them

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!