If you’ve watched a Patriots game and thought you knew who played well and who screwed up, Bill Belichick would like to have a word with you.
Belichick says that when you watch a football game, even if you’re watching the all-22 coaches’ tape, it’s difficult to know which players did their jobs unless you know the team’s playbook well enough to be aware of every player’s assignment on every play. Belichick says the only people who have that knowledge are in the team’s locker room, and he suggested that there are a lot of so-called experts who don’t know as much as they think they know.
“I don’t know how you can know that unless you’re really part of the team and know exactly what was supposed to happen on that play. I know there are a lot of experts out there that have it all figured out but I definitely don’t,” Belichick said.
Belichick said that when he’s watching film of opposing teams, he routinely sees plays where he knows a mistake was made, but he doesn’t know who made the mistake. If a blitzing linebacker comes untouched between the center and the guard and sacks the quarterback, you know someone on the offense made a mistake, but you don’t know if the center or the guard who was supposed to block the linebacker, or if a running back was supposed to pick up the blitz, or if the quarterback was supposed to recognize the blitz and get the ball away faster.
“I’ve watched plenty of preseason games this time of year and you’re looking at all the other teams in the league and you try to evaluate players and you’re watching the teams that we’re going to play early in the season and there are plenty of plays where I have no idea what went wrong,” Belichick said.
Even for an expert, evaluating a football team from the outside is tough.