Bill Belichick gives special teams history lesson

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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.

35 responses to “Bill Belichick gives special teams history lesson

  1. If he’s smart he’d walk away or go to a new team so his legacy* isn’t tainted.

    Brady only has a couple years left and BB’s lucky streak of finding “The Patriot Way” studs is fading.

    He’ll have his pick of the litter for another HC job, so he can choose a team that’s loaded and not living up to potential (Detriot when Scwartz is canned?) for all the $$$ he can imagine.

  2. I remember one year BB was on espn breaking down the Xs and Os of Pittsburghs running game. He showed a play they ran with Willie Parker 70% of the time, how it worked, why it worked, and how they beat NE with it. After he was done explaining, he says “Back to you guys in the studio”. The talking heads then had the camera cut to them and Tom Jackson says “I’ve never even notices that play.”. A lot of fans hate BB. But you have to be straight up dumb to not think BB knows his stuff. You can make any spygate jokes you want but he is definetly a sharp guy. There’s no doubt.

  3. 6ball says Bill likes to teach. He’s right and he one heck of a teacher. Marty Shottenhiemer was another great teacher. It’s too bad Marty retired. He just couldn’t handle the AJ Smith’s in football anymore. Non of us fans could either.

  4. we can’t bring in a bunch of veteran wr’s

    Like Brandon Lloyd? No thanks.

    I predict the rookie 3 headed monster will be tearing it up by the end of the season.

    Too many people hitting the panic button early.

  5. So reporters know if they ask him actual football question not only will he answer, he’ll expound upon the answer.

    What do they then do? Ask him questions they know he won’t answer.

  6. mangycougar says:

    Not to take anything away from Bill but, you all do realize that he gets tons of insight and information from the real Master, Ernie Adams, correct?

    Bill and Earnie both have encyclopedic knowledge of football, its history and how to manage a team. Both are brilliant but the combination of their talents is probably greater as a whole than separately.

  7. I agree with hockeyflow33 – a lot of questions asked by the media can be spun into themes of dissention on the team or strategy that Bill doesn’t want to divulge or the like. Give him a safe football topic like history and he loves to talk.

  8. mangycougar says:
    Sep 13, 2013 7:36 PM
    Not to take anything away from Bill but, you all do realize that he gets tons of insight and information from the real Master, Ernie Adams, correct?

    and you know this how?

  9. The more I get to know Bill Belichick the more I like him. I’ve always respected his coaching but his aloofness kind of annoyed me. I think he and the late 49er Bill Walsh are the 2 best X&O head coaches ever. It seems to me if you ask him a relevant football question he’ll give you an intelligent football answer. PS: Funny he mentioned Pinky DeOssie was a good long-punter. DeOssie wouldn’t last 2 seconds in todays NFL; he’d get run over.

  10. mangycougar says:
    “Not to take anything away from Bill but, you all do realize that he gets tons of insight and information from the real Master, Ernie Adams, correct?”
    Not the way you imply. Adams is a stats, numbers, analyst guy who indeed supplies insight and information. BB wouldn’t keep him on his staff if he didn’t.

    Most head coaches have an assistant (or whatever title they have) who give advice, perspective or detailed reports on trends and tendencies of their opponents after breaking down film. The “real Master”? I don’t think so. Just because someone can gather information, it doesn’t mean he can put it together in a way that works.

  11. I think his days of winning Super Bowls might be over — there are only three coaches in history that have won Super Bowls when in their 60’s, and the vast majority were under 55. So as a coach, he may be in his Don Shula/Hank Stram years of getting close but not quite close enough to get back there.

    But boy, does he have so much to teach the coaches underneath him. The guys coaching under him now, and through the length of his next contract could well end up changing the face of how football is coached in the 2020’s.

  12. I have had a healthy disdain for The Patriots. Bill Belichick is one of the most hated personalities in football but man does he know his football and will without a doubt be a Hall of Fame coach. I respected him more in the way he handled the Hernandez fiasco, eating his humble pie and moving forward.

  13. greatest coach that ever lived = hand down!

    AND; the most valuable “person” in the entire NFL. Been that way now for over ten years. Patriot Nation loves you Bill.

  14. whatever knucklehead asked about Brandon Lloyd:

    Lloyd has been well documented as saying he doesnt want to play football anymore – get your facts straight before you start spouting off.

  15. Without Vineterie he hasn’t won another Superbowl. Without Brady he never would have even made it to one. Good coach yes. Great coach? Not so sure.

  16. Heres a history lesson for Bill. You haven’t won a SB in a decade. Get your QB some darn recievers. Look what he did with an old Moss. Rewrote the record books. If Brady had a Johnson,AJ Green,or Dez type reciever once in his career he would be the goat. Oh did I mention he hasnt won a SB in a decade. Cant believe yall let spray and pray Eli beat ya.

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