Bill Belichick was already considered the best coach of the National Football League’s modern era.
Now with his sixth Super Bowl, the New England Patriots coach firmly joins the discussion for the greatest coach in the 99-year history of the league.
“He has now won his sixth Super Bowl which is more than any other coach,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Monday. “I think when you look back on our 99-year history, on NFL championships there are only two other coaches that have won six (world) championships, George Halas and Curly Lambeau.”
Belichick led the Patriots to a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII Sunday at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Vince Lombardi was a five-time NFL championship winner, earning titles with the Green Bay Packers in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967. He was the Giants staff as the offensive coordinator in 1956. Tom Landry was the defensive coordinator.
Halas won six NFL championships in four different decades. He won titles with the Chicago Staleys/Bears in 1921, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1946 and 1963.
Curley Lambeau won NFL championships in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1939 and 1944, all with the Packers.
Paul Brown, of the Cleveland Browns, won seven titles, but four were with the All-American Football Conference.
“We are grateful to see him continue to bring football teams together in a way that I don’t think any other coach has ever done,” Goodell said.
The history was not lost on Belichick, who entered the NFL as a special assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1975.
“It’s incredibly flattering,” Belichick said. “I grew up watching Coach Halas. He and my dad were friends.”
Belichick has made nine trips to the Super Bowl as coach of New England.
“Coach (Don) Shula, coach Lambeau, coach (Tom) Landry, I mean you can just go right down the line,” Belichick said. “Coach (Bill) Walsh. I competed against several of those coaches and some of them I didn’t compete against, but I am aware of Coach Lombardi from as a kid growing up and watching the first Super Bowl all the way up through. It’s incredibly flattering.”
After breaking into the league with the Colts, Belichick went on to be an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos and New York Giants before landing the head coaching job with the Browns in 1991.
After getting fired in 1995, he went to the Patriots and New York Jets before getting hired as the Patriots head coach in 2000.
He won his first title over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. He earned the fifth title over the Atlanta Falcons, who blew a 28-3 lead, in Super Bowl LI.
Belichick, while acknowledging history, wanted to point to the job that his team did in defeating the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl LIII.
“For me, it’s about what the team accomplishes and the most important thing for me is for our team to be able to hold that Lombardi trophy up and say that we were champions,” Belichick said. “It took the entire team, the entire organization to put forth a superior and supreme effort to achieve that. That’s really what it’s about. How we all came together and pulled our weight so that the team could achieve its goals.”
Belichick received a monster effort from his defense, which kept the second-highest scoring offense in the league last season out of the end zone.
“(Wide receiver) Julian (Edelman) did a great job for us, but we had 45 other guys out there battling as well as the coaching staff,” Belichick said. “Again, it is what we were able to accomplish as a team that makes me most proud.”
Belichick credits his father, Steve, who was a long-time college assistant coach at the Naval Academy, with helping him to develop his coaching philosophy. His father was also an assistant coach at Hiram, Vanderbilt and North Carolina.
“My dad always told me to work hard, whatever your role was on the team,” Belichick said. “When I started in the National Football League it was about as low as you could get. Which is what I deserved. To do whatever your role is, do the best you can to help the team and contribute to it and that’s what I tried to do from 1975 when I came into the National Football League under coach (Ted) Marchibroda until today.”
Belichick’s first job paid $25 per week.
“My job is my job,” Belichick said. “I can’t do what other people do. I don’t try to. I just try to do the best that I can for the team in the position that I’m in whether if that’s making decisions or organizing things and so forth. Work hard. Be prepared and do what’s best for the team.”
Belichick, who started to get noticed in the 1980s as the Giants defensive coordinator, while unleashing Lawrence Taylor, seemed to enjoy winning the latest title with a heavy dose of defense.
“The game was special last night,” Belichick said. “The Rams led from wire to wire in the NFC. So, we knew it was going to be a tough football game and a great football game and it was. I was so proud of the way our football team competed.
“It was a tremendous season.”