Bill Belichick knows his NFL history.
We were reminded of this Friday, when the Patriots’ head coach spent a portion of his Friday press conference talking about special teams.
The really interesting stuff came when Belichick was asked why he liked having punters hold on field goal attempts.
Belichick, who coached special teams in the 1970s and 1980s, contrasted how clubs filled the special teams positions now compared to when he entered the NFL in the mid-1970s.
“Most teams had kickers, most of the punters played another position and I would say all of the long-snappers played another position, either center or linebacker or tight end or whatever it was,” Belichick recalled, according to a transcript from the club. “Then punters became pretty much specialized so every team carried a kicker and a punter. Occasionally you had a guy who could do both but that was more the exception than the rule.
“Eventually, teams started going to just pure long-snappers. Like [former Giant] Steve DeOssie, who came into the league as a linebacker/snapper, kind of ended as a snapper and was one of the best snappers in the league. He was part of that transition and in that era where teams went and committed fully to a long-snapper that played no other position. You’ve also seen that now in college. Most college teams have a pure snapper as well as a pure kicker and a pure punter.
“I just think that when you have that situation, if your punter can hold, then the amount of snaps and time that those guys get to practice together, work together, meet together, watch film together, watch slow-motions films, concentrate on the technique as opposed to the backup quarterback or somebody like that who has a lot of other responsibilities.”
Belichick also noted the role of expanded rosters in allowing teams to carry specialists on special teams.
“There was kind of that transition there from maybe ’85 to the early-‘90s. I’d say by around ’95 or so, it was pretty much one snapper, one kicker, one punter on every team,” Belichick said. “Also as the roster numbers have creeped up as well, that’s made it affordable. When you’re down in the 30s then it’s a lot tougher to carry one of each of those; that slices into your roster pretty good. The rules have made it much easier to do.”
Belichick, of course, wasn’t strictly asked about special teams on Friday. He was also asked about the NFL Network reporting Thursday that his contract extends beyond 2013.
His answer, as our MDS pointed out, was one sentence — 10 words, to be exact.
“I don’t talk about my personal contract situation, I’m sorry,” Belichick said.