Bill Belichick pays a visit to the Lions coach who gave him his first full-time job

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Bill Belichick’s first full-time coaching job was with the Lions in 1976, and more than four decades later he paid a visit to Detroit and sat down with his boss, Rick Forzano. NFL Films documented their visit.

The 89-year-old Forzano, who worked with “Billy” Belichick’s father at Navy in the 1950s and 1960s, still has a good memory of the five-time Super Bowl-winning Patriots coach as a boy.

“I went to Navy as an assistant coach and Billy was about 8, and his mother and dad had me stay with them,” Forzano recalled, adding that he and Steve Belichick often talked football with Billy in the room.

“And I listened,” Belichick said. “I listened. I got to hear a lot of those conversations and that’s where I learned a lot, from both of you.”

Years later, after Belichick had completed a year as a part-time employee on the Baltimore Colts’ staff, Forzano hired Belichick as a full-time assistant special teams coach on the Lions’ staff. Belichick was making $10,000 a year, which is about $43,000 in today’s dollars.

“That was up from $25 a week,” Belichick said of his salary with the Colts.

Belichick thinks of Forzano as the link between himself and Paul Brown, the innovative football mind who was a mentor to Forzano.

“You learned a lot from Coach Brown, and I learned a lot from you, so I feel like I learned a lot from Coach Brown,” Belichick told Forzano.

The NFL Films video is a great look at a great coach paying tribute to a mentor who helped him in his early days.

19 responses to “Bill Belichick pays a visit to the Lions coach who gave him his first full-time job

  1. This was a great job by NFL Film. What impressed me the most was that Bill made sure to bring HIS sons to the meeting with Forzano.

    Mot many people have a better understanding of the history of the game than Bellichick. He appreciates that there is very little that’s “new” in the game. Most of the so called innovations to the game in recent years can be traced back to the single wing concept found in the 30’s and 40’s.

    Bellichick REALLY appreciates what he learned from guys like Forzano and others. If you ask him, he’ll always put Paul Brown as the greatest HC of them all. So basically this is a great clip of Bill Bellichick showing that he “gets it”, when it comes to honoring those who came before him and respecting their accomplishments.

  2. Great piece of Belichick’s life. It goes to show all of us, no one is that special. You just need to pay attention to your peers as you grow in life and apply to your situation. Belichick did this and uses all he has learned ove the years and now applies it to what he doing now.

  3. whenever belichick hangs it up, the fun goes out of football for me. amazing to watch one guy distance himself from all the competition by having the smarts and guts to think and act independently. 31 guys zig while he’s zagging, so they all zag to copy him, but by then he’s zigging.

  4. What a great piece. Touching and filled with honor, respect, appreciation.

    Those three things of which, we will never get enough and hear enough.

    Thank you Billy.

  5. thedoctlc says:
    December 30, 2017 at 10:56 am
    He runs the Erhardt-Perkins offense/Fairbanks-Bullough defense, but Belichick has always been the spiritual successor to Paul Brown. Great stuff.

    18 2 Rate Th


    they run it all…brady has been running far more paul brown west coast style stuff more than ever this year. ball is either out quick or he is looking to move it down field from under center, instead of the shotgun spread crap over and over.

    but, yeah, no one has more respect for the game and people that came before him, than bb.

    no one.

    that is a big reason why what goodell has done has been so despicable

  6. Belichick has so much respect for the history of the game. It’s why he let Flutie dropkick an extra point, it’s why he lobbied for a competitive extra point attempt, it’s why his teams generally play fundamentally sound, clean, hard and competitive football. For all his detractors he clearly has a very human component to his personality that the public seldomly gets to see. Certainly on the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches.

  7. that was a loaded coaching staff for the lions in ‘77. joe bugel is arguably the best ol coach of all time along with dante scarnecchia.

    the lions never really had proper talent. they still don’t.

    in ‘78, bb was hired by red miller and the broncos, another coach he has a lot of respect for, and it was the fate that allowed him to cross paths with parcells who was at air force.

    the new documentary “the two bills” airs on february 1.

  8. seabreezes51 says:
    December 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm
    Thing is, he never had to cheat. But he did anyway.

    Over 10 years ago the Patriots were over punished when the coach misinterpreted a memo and positioned a camera a few feet away from where the camera would was allowed based on how the author of the poorly worded memo wanted his memo to be interpreted. That camera was out of position for a portion of the 1st quarter of the 1st game of the 2007 NFL season.

    The author of the memo got to be the judge and jury and the patriots got a lesson in human nature when the memo writer displayed his petty tyrant mentality while believing that he was being disrespected. That was over 10 years ago but it seems that jealous haters are still refusing to let it go. A few silly trolls who are jealous of The Patriots success have been trying to label it as “cheating” for over 10 years.

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