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Bill Belichick says a smaller staff is a better staff

AP

With 15 assistants, the Patriots have one of the smallest coaching staffs in the league. And Bill Belichick says that’s the way he likes it.

Belichick said on Paul Rabil’s podcast that running a staff with only people he knows he can count on to do whatever he throws their way is the best way to stay on top of everything.

“My philosophy, really, is that less is more, so I’d rather have fewer people doing more work than more people doing a little more work,” Belichick said, via ESPN. “As long as everybody is busy, as long as everybody feels productive, they feel good about what they’re doing and they feel like they’re contributing; I think when people have lag time and kind of not enough to do, that leads to getting distracted and complaining or being less productive. So even though you have more people, sometimes less work gets done.”

Belichick also wants to make sure he doesn’t have his assistants giving players conflicting instructions.

“From a ‘getting everybody on the same page’ standpoint, which is critical, the fewer people you have to manage, the easier it is to get everybody on the same page,” Belichick said. “So if you’re talking to 10 people, it’s hard to get all 10 people doing the same thing or doing the right thing. Now you make that number 20, instead of 10, it’s even more difficult. If you have five people supervising another 15 people, now you have another layer there where you’re not dealing directly with everybody, and now you’re somewhat dependent on other people to relay the message the way you want it done and to monitor it that way. Certainly, there’s a degree of that, but as much of that I can eliminate, I think works better for me.”

Smaller coaching staffs have worked very well for Belichick, and yet most coaches have gone in the other direction, with coaching staffs consistently growing. All three other AFC East teams, for instance, have more than 20 assistant coaches. Belichick has a smaller staff and a more effective staff.

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83 Responses to “Bill Belichick says a smaller staff is a better staff”
  1. unbiasedminds says: May 15, 2017 8:09 PM

    Dang, this finally explains the Ravens struggles..

  2. dropkickbanana says: May 15, 2017 8:10 PM

    There’ll be a rule next year that ensures a coach can have no fewer than 25 assistant coaches.

  3. dickshotdogs says: May 15, 2017 8:11 PM

    Less is more is always the best philosophy, in all facets of life. Honestly.

  4. eagleslakers says: May 15, 2017 8:13 PM

    Seahawks have one of if not the largest coaching staffs in the league and they’ve done well. There isn’t any one right organizational setup.

  5. waterisforfighting says: May 15, 2017 8:13 PM

    Every guy with a small staff thinks its better than bigger staffs. They make up for it with effort and hard work……

  6. vottorific says: May 15, 2017 8:14 PM

    Very smart manager.

  7. thegronk87 says: May 15, 2017 8:15 PM

    C’mon bill, don’t give away any secrets to the 31 lesser teams.

  8. knucklebucket says: May 15, 2017 8:15 PM

    Can’t argue with genius.

  9. factpurveyor says: May 15, 2017 8:18 PM

    Roger Goodell’s staff is so small…
    that Roger is unable have anyone find the 10 minutes necessary to type a press release containing the PSI information which was collected during the 2015 NFL season.

  10. sportnik2 says: May 15, 2017 8:19 PM

    Belichick may have a greater impact on American business than he’s had on the NFL.

  11. jeff2380 says: May 15, 2017 8:20 PM

    He likes a smaller staff he can trust. So they won’t go spilling all the beans of there cheating ways. You don’t want a lot of coaches you can’t control knowing secrets like that. Just plant this recording device, just take air out of this football, just record this teams signals and Or practice. Have to have people you can trust if there is something shady going on.

  12. fakebookfreddy says: May 15, 2017 8:21 PM

    BB is a legendary control freak. Of course he doesnt want more.

  13. factpurveyor says: May 15, 2017 8:23 PM

    Smart enough to understand his message will change if it has to pass through too many people. Anyone that has ever played the telephone game can appreciate.

  14. maust1013 says: May 15, 2017 8:25 PM

    dickshotdogs says:
    May 15, 2017 8:11 PM
    Less is more is always the best philosophy, in all facets of life. Honestly.
    ====================

    Of course less is only more if the less is comprised of higher quality. Belichick is a realist. He knows what he is about when it comes to managing expectations, which is the key to handling a staff regardless of it’s disparate aspects. Everyone has to earn their spurs with him. David Halberstam’s great book on Belichick really shows what a constant teacher he is in spite of being a harsh taskmaster both with his team and his coaching staff.

  15. boxscore20k says: May 15, 2017 8:26 PM

    Ahead of the curve on all aspects of coaching. He was raised to be a coach and has become arguably the best.

  16. happy1114 says: May 15, 2017 8:26 PM

    Copy cat league but few copy this philosophy….Owners should take note, Kraft saves a bundle due to his very prudent HC…Continued success!!

  17. somehomer says: May 15, 2017 8:29 PM

    Do not brag of a small staff

  18. boobsmcgoo says: May 15, 2017 8:31 PM

    That’s what she said…

  19. patsfiend says: May 15, 2017 8:32 PM

    I wonder if Linda Cougar concurs.

  20. jasons81 says: May 15, 2017 8:34 PM

    It’s not the size of the staff that counts, it’s how you use your staff

  21. tonebones says: May 15, 2017 8:39 PM

    As long as you have Tom Brady, you’re the smartest guy out there. Remember when Mike Shanahan had John Elway? We thought he was the smartest guy out there. When Jimmy Johnson had Troy Aikman, and Bill Walsh had Joe Montana, they were the smartest too. Belichick was a smart guy before he had Brady, we just weren’t smart enough to pay attention to him.

  22. canetic says: May 15, 2017 8:47 PM

    I bet Tom Brady has an even smaller staff.

  23. ggreen657 says: May 15, 2017 8:47 PM

    Seahawks have one of if not the largest coaching staffs in the league and they’ve done well. There isn’t any one right organizational setup.

    Yeah, that 1 Super Bowl title stands as the standard of excellence.

  24. 345snarkavenue says: May 15, 2017 8:55 PM

    Let me just say it once and for all so all the fence-straddling haters won’t need to bother…..Belichick would be nothing without his system QB Brady.

  25. jag1959 says: May 15, 2017 8:59 PM

    tonebones says:
    May 15, 2017 8:39 PM
    Belichick was a smart guy before he had Brady, we just weren’t smart enough to pay attention to him.
    ______________________

    Speak for yourself, there were a legion of Giants fans that wanted him as HC after Parcells but George Young found Belichick to bloodless for his taste.

  26. mclennon99 says: May 15, 2017 9:08 PM

    Rex Ryan had the largest staff in the league last year with Buffalo

    So what’s your point, Bill?

  27. exinsidetrader says: May 15, 2017 9:34 PM

    That settles it. All other NFL teams need to cut their staffs.

  28. osage44 says: May 15, 2017 9:34 PM

    The current Patriots media guide includes 19 assistant coaches. Just saying.

  29. exinsidetrader says: May 15, 2017 9:36 PM

    I laugh at the losers saying BB wouldn’t be a thing without Brady. Do you even watch the games?

    Is there another coach that consistently makes better strategic decisions than BB? Please give me the names of three coaches that you would want over BB coaching your team.

  30. exhelodrvr says: May 15, 2017 9:43 PM

    “Of course less is only more if the less is comprised of higher quality”

    No – adding more people results in spending time training them, more meetings, more time spent on communications, more occurrences of people getting in the way of each other, more time spent by the senior staff in administrative tasks. More people, even when they are just as qualified, often slows progress down.

  31. yahdoood says: May 15, 2017 9:44 PM

    ‘Tis not the size of the staff it’s the motion of the ocean?

  32. trollaikman8 says: May 15, 2017 10:20 PM

    “Belichick may have a greater impact on American business than he’s had on the NFL.”

    Yeah, he and Bernie Madoff.

  33. johnodocks says: May 15, 2017 10:20 PM

    The zen master.

  34. iloveyourwifetoo says: May 15, 2017 10:25 PM

    i.don’t.dislike.Brady.orBB…Andi’m.a.Bills.fan…But.i;m.waiting.to.see.what.happens.when.one.of.the.retires…..love.football.love.My.Bills…but.TB.is.is.The.GOAT….AndBB.is…Best,Coach.Ever..But.I.Love.my.Bills..

  35. flipola says: May 15, 2017 11:13 PM

    That’s not what she said.

  36. absolutevisuals says: May 15, 2017 11:31 PM

    This is true. A close knit team that know each other can be better than a bigger corporate type one where the people have no synergy. Its like the true friends vs entourage/posse argument.

  37. smartcollegefootball says: May 16, 2017 1:39 AM

    Belichick’s Nixonian fixation with Black Ops necessitates a close-knit and, yes, “small” inner circle of Belichick loyalists

    Belichick’s notorious “plumbing” operations– be they systematic ball deflation, the jamming of opposing team’s radio signals, or the filming of opposing teams’ walk-thrus (to name just a few)– are inherently best executed on a strict “need to know” basis

    Hence, Belichick’s preference for a laughably small coaching staff in Foxboro.

  38. nyneal says: May 16, 2017 5:03 AM

    This is why Belichick is the best coach in the NFL. He’s smarter than everyone else.
    Many teams have assistant coaches to assistant coaches. It’s ridiculous.
    Sometimes I think Belichick must be Vince Lombardi’s nephew, because he does things so much like Vince did.
    Someone above said Belichick would be nothing without Brady. Wrong. Remember what he did with Matt Cassell?
    Cassell is the only NFL QB in history who started a game in the NFL without ever having started a game in college.
    And remember this, too — Bill Parcells never won a championship without Belichick as his defensive coordinator.

  39. bigoldred says: May 16, 2017 5:54 AM

    Time will tell if he knows what he is doing.

  40. kitwor says: May 16, 2017 6:03 AM

    Not only is he a terrific coach but also a great businessman. He most likely would make an outstanding General Manager as well.

  41. thecape15 says: May 16, 2017 7:33 AM

    This is effective only if all the coaches are effective.

    And that starts at the top. It is not easily duplicated.

    BB makes it look simple.

  42. jimmyjohns01 says: May 16, 2017 7:50 AM

    Ravens and Jets just announced they’re having an extensive layoff and will retain only 10 of their top assistants.

  43. stucats says: May 16, 2017 8:08 AM

    Bill always tells people that smaller is better.

  44. IbelieveinSantaClaus says: May 16, 2017 8:09 AM

    silence. the prophet has spoken.

  45. phinatic29 says: May 16, 2017 8:14 AM

    The Dolphins are playing chess while the Pats are playing checkers.

  46. mikespillane337 says: May 16, 2017 8:43 AM

    Dan Reeves had Elway
    Don Shula had Marino
    Marv Levy had Jim Kelly
    D. Coryell had Dan Fouts
    I can keep going if you want,but I would be wasting my time.I could also mention the QBs that are great now that only have 1 or 2 superbowls, but they would be cancelled out by the dilfers of the world.

  47. thetooloftools says: May 16, 2017 8:48 AM

    Like Joe Paterno told Spanier, Curly, and Shultz…”we need to keep the circle small”.

  48. jjackwagon says: May 16, 2017 9:14 AM

    The headline made it sound like he was hiring little people. Imagine my disappoint when I found out it just meant he was hiring fewer people.

  49. InterstellarSuperstar says: May 16, 2017 9:43 AM

    Bill was toying with the idea of fielding a smaller team, but he didn’t want to embarrass the other teams that actually needed 11 players to compete with his 9.

  50. mikespillane337 says: May 16, 2017 10:09 AM

    Can you imagine the money he is saving on Superbowl rings by having a small staff.Millions of dollars…if not more.

  51. no1billsfan says: May 16, 2017 10:17 AM

    If it weren’t for the tuck rule miracle gift to the Patriots, none of this would ever have happened….

  52. silvernblacksabbath says: May 16, 2017 10:23 AM

    “I’m sick of it, huddle up…huddle up and run it again Brady”.
    -Belichick

  53. churchofthehoody says: May 16, 2017 10:25 AM

    The Dolphins are playing chess while the Pats are playing checkers.

    ____________________________________

    That’s odd… from here it looks like the phins are trying to play tick-tack-toe with a pet chicken…. and losing…

  54. plum54 says: May 16, 2017 10:40 AM

    My first thought was the Dolphins are playing tiddlywinks! But tick tack toe works too!!

  55. Lisa_the_Greek says: May 16, 2017 10:41 AM

    Paging Dr. Freud…

  56. jags2daship says: May 16, 2017 10:48 AM

    The Jaguars had one of the largest coaching staffs last year though, and look how well we did

  57. mmack66 says: May 16, 2017 10:59 AM

    thegronk87 says:
    May 15, 2017 8:15 PM

    C’mon bill, don’t give away any secrets to the 31 lesser teams.
    ————————

    It wouldn’t matter if he did.

  58. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: May 16, 2017 11:07 AM

    GOAT

  59. mikespillane337 says: May 16, 2017 11:08 AM

    Hey no1billsfan…If not for WIDE RIGHT the bills would have one instead of none.

  60. superpatriotsfan says: May 16, 2017 11:41 AM

    Lol Belichick saying all sorts of stupid things because he has a HOF QB. Remember his HC days without Brady? .500 coach

  61. lifetimefan says: May 16, 2017 11:54 AM

    Being good with it makes the staff seem larger

  62. nflfan1951 says: May 16, 2017 11:59 AM

    Don’t include Elway with Shanahan.Elway had a 500 record without Shanahan and no playoff wins. If Shanahan did not come back Elway would of continued a 4 year stretch of 500 football. The offense was number one 4 years in a row with 9 players on offense being 6th and 7th round draft choices with the rest free agents when Shanahan came back. Elway can’t seem to have an offense that works without Peyton Manning as a QB and OC or Shanahan as a coach. They better play great defense because he just fired a def coordinator that won him a Super Bowl. Elway even brought the offense down to 194 yards with Peyton Manning as the QB with the system that they ran. If you think Kubiak’s system resembles Shanahans you have not been watching football over the last 8 years. Thanks Wade for the Super Bowl. Who will Elway blame next year when the running game sucks and the wide receivers still complaining! Elway does a great job acquiring talent but has no clue about how to make an offense work.

  63. harrisonhits2 says: May 16, 2017 12:10 PM

    “Remember his HC days without Brady? .500 coach”

    When you take over a terrible team, and coach it up to get to 11-5 and the last playoff win the Browns have had in living memory it qualifies as more than a “.500 coach”

    And fun fact that lone Browns playoff win was against the Pats.

    Keep cherry picking foolish facts though if it makes you feel better.

  64. tylawspick6 says: May 16, 2017 12:15 PM

    nflfan1951 says:
    May 16, 2017 11:59 AM
    Don’t include Elway with Shanahan.Elway had a 500 record without Shanahan and no playoff wins. If Shanahan did not come back Elway would of continued a 4 year stretch of 500 football. The offense was number one 4 years in a row with 9 players on offense being 6th and 7th round draft choices with the rest free agents when Shanahan came back. Elway can’t seem to have an offense that works without Peyton Manning as a QB and OC or Shanahan as a coach. They better play great defense because he just fired a def coordinator that won him a Super Bowl. Elway even brought the offense down to 194 yards with Peyton Manning as the QB with the system that they ran. If you think Kubiak’s system resembles Shanahans you have not been watching football over the last 8 years. Thanks Wade for the Super Bowl. Who will Elway blame next year when the running game sucks and the wide receivers still complaining! Elway does a great job acquiring talent but has no clue about how to make an offense work.

    ————–

    Not to mention, Bowlen, Shanahan and Elway concocted a scheme in 1995, 1996 and 1997 to have Elway take deferred payments as way to cheat the cap and sign huge FA names like Ray Crockett, Neil Smith, Darien Gordon, Howard Griffith, while keeping many very good players elsewhere on the roster, having an advantage over all teams for 16+ games, PROVEN, since other teams were not cheating the cap like that.

    Anyone claiming Denver was a juggernaut franchise in the 1990s, simply does not know the facts. They cheated and were very lucky to have been treated with kid gloves.

    Elway was mediocre in both SB wins, not doing much, while he was horrendous in 3 other SB losses, being blown out each time, usually by the 2nd qtr.

  65. nyneal says: May 16, 2017 12:16 PM

    iloveyourwifetoo says:
    May 15, 2017 10:25 PM
    i.don’t.dislike.Brady.orBB…Andi’m.a.Bills.fan…But.i;m.waiting.to.see.what.happens.when.one.of.the.retires…..love.football.love.My.Bills…but.TB.is.is.The.GOAT….AndBB.is…Best,Coach.Ever..But.I.Love.my.Bills..

    _______________________________________

    Why don’t you just send a telegram next time?

    And you’re wrong. Tom Brady is not the greatest QB of all time. There is no such animal. You cannot compare QB’s of different eras. It’s not fair.
    And same goes for coaches. But Vince Lombardi has the Super Bowl Trophy named after him for a reason. Do yourself a favor and read his bio sometime. He took a job as a Catholic High School basketball coach because they couldn’t get anyone else to do it. He knew nothing about basketball and went to a public library to learn about the game. All his team did was win the first and only state championship title in the school’s history. That’s indicative of how great Lombardi was at motivating and teaching.
    To paraphrase the late Bum Phillips, “Lombardi could take his’n and beat your’n, then take your’n and beat his’n”.
    I take nothing away from Belichick. He is far and away the best coach of his era. But he not better than Lombardi was.

  66. tylawspick6 says: May 16, 2017 12:18 PM

    superpatriotsfan says:
    May 16, 2017 11:41 AM
    Lol Belichick saying all sorts of stupid things because he has a HOF QB. Remember his HC days without Brady? .500 coach

    ——–

    Yes, we do. He invented his cap formula with Lombardi in 1991, they had a plan, and the team improved every year, trending up as SB favorites in the AFC entering 1995.

    If BB has his way in acquiring Testaverde 1 year prior to 1993, say in 1992, with Modell blocking that move too long, their success would have trended up SOONER.

    Then, Modell announced the move, and it spiraled out of control.

    This is all well documented and a proven fact.

    BB was a good first time coach, clearing old, dead weight and rebuilding like he should have at the dawn of the cap era.

    It’s what Jimmy Johnson’s approach was in Dallas in 1989, except Jerry Jones let Jimmy work his plan.

    Have a nice day!

  67. beelicker says: May 16, 2017 12:36 PM

    BB having the one & only Ernie Adams on that staff makes all the difference …

  68. styro1 says: May 16, 2017 12:36 PM

    dropkickbanana says:
    May 15, 2017 8:10 PM
    There’ll be a rule next year that ensures a coach can have no fewer than 25 assistant coaches.
    _________________________________
    Then Belichick will have those extra coaches cleaning toilets, offices and the locker room. Unless the league demands they coach, then he’ll have them coach the media and fans.

  69. mogogo1 says: May 16, 2017 12:37 PM

    “Don’t include Elway with Shanahan.Elway had a 500 record without Shanahan and no playoff wins.”
    _____________

    Elway played in 3 Super Bowls before Shanahan ever showed up. Remember Dan Reeves?

  70. hockeyforlife04 says: May 16, 2017 12:43 PM

    345snarkavenue says:
    May 15, 2017 8:55 PM
    Let me just say it once and for all so all the fence-straddling haters won’t need to bother…..Belichick would be nothing without his system QB Brady.
    —————————————
    System QB? What does that even mean? Every team calls plays based on their qb/receivers/running backs, linemen’s strengths. “He’s a blocking tight end” Don’t throw to him.
    That’s their system. Every team has one. It’s their system.

    The system qb argument is almost as dumb as, “I don’t like Brady, he doesn’t like to get hit.” Name one QB that enjoys a 350lb lineman pasting him into the artificial turf?

  71. scottjameswebdesign says: May 16, 2017 1:28 PM

    For someone who runs an organization so tightly and so well, I wonder if his opinion has changed about the man he supported for president who’s clearly conducting a train wreck.

  72. TheBrownswillstinkagain says: May 16, 2017 1:39 PM

    Amazing how much common sense Belichick has. You would think its easy to figure out but obviously for the rest of the League its not

  73. ajsjr40 says: May 16, 2017 1:52 PM

    While it is a copycat league it is impossible to emulate what Belichick does. His knowledge of every aspect of the program is unparalleled and he creates clear expectations for everyone in the organization. When you put in his time with the Giants there is no doubt this man is the greatest coach in NFL history with more to come. Should also get into the HOF as a master team builder.

  74. eddiea25 says: May 16, 2017 2:03 PM

    Bill is a great coach,no doubt The public should be informed about Ernie Adams,his right hand man,who stays deep in the background. A football genius,big time.

  75. streetyson says: May 16, 2017 2:14 PM

    And yet the haters say BB created to extra staff posts for two sons. So he and his other staff must be even more brilliant! – or his sons are actually competent. I pick the latter.

  76. harrisonhits2 says: May 16, 2017 2:31 PM

    “The Dolphins are playing chess while the Pats are playing checkers.”

    Lolz if that’s the case the Fins are playing grade school level chess while Belichick is playing 4 dimensional 32 player space checkers and beating all 31 simultaneous opponents.

  77. weeteblog says: May 16, 2017 2:32 PM

    exinsidetrader says:
    May 15, 2017 9:36 PM
    I laugh at the losers saying BB wouldn’t be a thing without Brady. Do you even watch the games?

    Is there another coach that consistently makes better strategic decisions than BB? Please give me the names of three coaches that you would want over BB coaching your team.

    ***********************************************

    Career Coaching Record prior to Tom Brady: 41-55
    Career Coaching Record after getting Brady: 96-60

    6 season in Cleveland….1 season above .500 (1-1 in playoffs)
    1 season in New England before drafting Brady….5-11

    Lets see what happens when he has to face coaching without Brady.

  78. toddsuperbowles says: May 16, 2017 2:45 PM

    Easier to keep the cheating schemes from leaking out, obviously. And did somebody actually say that Belichick’s 1995 Browns team was trending upward to Super Bowl favorites?

    HAHAHAHA. Seriously? Clown

  79. mmack66 says: May 16, 2017 2:46 PM

    ajsjr40 says:
    May 16, 2017 1:52 PM

    While it is a copycat league it is impossible to emulate what Belichick does.
    ——————–

    It would be difficult, but not impossible.

    Most owners would rather just have the commissioner try to cripple the Patriots, but that hasn’t worked as of yet.

  80. 345snarkavenue says: May 16, 2017 3:03 PM

    System QB? What does that even mean?

    ———–

    my comment was sarcasm. I put ‘Belichick would be nothing without Brady’ together with ‘Brady being a system QB’ (which, you know, would give the credit to Belichick). So they kind of cancel each other out.

  81. no1billsfan says: May 16, 2017 3:32 PM

    mikespillane337 says:
    May 16, 2017 11:08 AM
    Hey no1billsfan…If not for WIDE RIGHT the bills would have one instead of none.

    _________________________________________
    The Patriots have nowhere to go but down at this point. Very soon, defeat will hit harder than a bullet from #81’s piece. The Kraft family has done nothing but get lucky in the BB+TB combo. The entire show will be in decline very soon.

  82. superpatriotsfan says: May 16, 2017 9:17 PM

    Funny how Patriots fans love to deny the truth. Deny deny deny the Patriot way.

  83. straighcashhomey says: May 17, 2017 10:58 AM

    wow so much Butt hurt on here. Funny stuff.

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