By Michael Holley
Bill Belichick, The Coaches, and The Players Who Built A Champion
How To Win
Bill Belichick has many different philosophies on how to win games. His most important one is pregame preparation. He believes that if you study your opponent enough, then you will be ready in the games. The huge amount of preparation and practice gets the players' brain and body ready for the game. Once the players' see it in the game, they will recognize and react to blow up the play. Bill finds the opposing team's weakness, and exposes it. Also, Bill takes away the best option for the opposite offense, and forces the second and third best options to have to step up. When they do step up it is a good game, but if they don't, then the Patriots will cruise over them. Bill has led the Patriots to six Super Bowls, four of which they have won. The coaches, with Bill, have used the same philosophy for each one of those games - pregame preparation.
Bill Belichick in his office preparing for the upcoming football game.
Becoming Champions For The First Time
Before 2002, the Patriots had been to two Super Bowls, 1986 and 1997, both of which were lost by double digit points. 2002 would be different though. The Patriots were playing the Greatest Show On Turf, otherwise known as the St. Louis Rams. The Rams won the Super Bowl the year before, and they had one of the best offenses of all time. Led by league MVP quarterback Kurt Warner, they would dominate teams with their high-flying offense. But, he wasn't anything Tom Brady, quarterback for the Patriots, couldn't handle. The Patriots weren't going to let the Rams just step on them. They were going to fight back. At the beginning of the game the Pats did something no other team ever did in Super Bowl history. They came out of the locker room as a team. Teams always would have the star players would come out individually, and the bench players together, but Bill and Tom didn't believe in that. They believed that a team should go out as a team, not just the star players. This gave the Pats something to use as adrenaline to keep them going, and get an edge. All of the pregame preparation they put together also allowed the Patriots to gain an edge on the Rams. Bill's game plan eventually stifled the Rams, and gave the Patriots their first Super Bowl with final score of 20-17.
Tom Brady after winning the 2002 Super Bowl against the Rams.
Keeping Power At The Top
After the 2002 Super Bowl victory, the Patriots were expected to be very good the next year. The Patriots opened the season with a commanding 30-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was looking bright for the Patriots in the current season, but that wouldn't happen. The next two games were wins for the Pats, but this is where it went downhill. All of a sudden, a four game loss streak brought the Pats to 3-4 record for the year. Over the final nine games, the Patriots won six and lost three. Those games brought the Patriots to 9-7 overall on the year. Unfortunately, that record wouldn't get the Patriots into the playoffs. A disappointing season led to many changes in the offseason. Bill Belichick was very vocal about what needed to happen. He thought the defense was old and slow. So, the Pats brought in some new young and quick players in. The next season was looking sharp for the new Pats team. The new season was so sharp the Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers. That bad season was a reality check for the Pats, and it helped them begin a long-lasting reign of winning.