Bill Belichick may be a coaching legend, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his share of detractors.
As is well known at this point, the New England Patriots were recently embroiled in a scandal that saw videographers illegally videotape the Cincinnati Bengals‘ sideline a week before their Week 15 matchup against the team. While Belichick and the Patriots organization claimed they had nothing to do with the incident, the damage was already done.
Many referred to it as “Spygate 2.0,” as a reference to the 2007 scandal that saw the Patriots and Belichick both fined due to the illegal videotaping of opposing teams’ signals.
That’s also not including the “Deflategate” scandal that took place during the playoffs at the end of the 2014 season.
Needless to say, the Patriots have somewhat of a shady history and former Miami Dolphins defensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl champion Manny Fernandez wasn’t letting it slide.
During an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Fernandez referenced Belichick getting caught “cheating” and that he doesn’t believe the Patriots head coach should be mentioned in the same breath as Dolphins coaching legend Don Shula. The topic was regarding Belichick being mentioned in the same category as Shula due to the fact that he has 304 wins in comparison to Shula’s all-time leading 347 victories.
“I just think it’s a shame that a guy who constantly gets caught cheating is even there because — I don’t know — his moral character leaves me kind of questioning.”
While Fernandez doesn’t have a high opinion of the Dolphins’ rival coach, Larry Little, a legendary guard who played under Shula during the 70’s, doesn’t have the same disdain for the Patriots head coach — he actually gives some credit to Belichick for winning despite the scandals.
“There’s some things that come out — how can I put this? — possibly about Bill, some things that happened over the years,” Little said. “But I still don’t think that takes away from him being a great coach, because he’s overcome those things and still won. So what can you say?”
Belichick Will Likely Surpass Shula in Total Wins in 2023
Belichick is currently 67 years old and doesn’t sound like he’s anywhere near retirement. Assuming New England maintains its current pace as far as winning, the veteran head coach will surpass Shula in total wins at some point during the 2023 season — when Belichick will be 71.
Previously, Belichick had indicated he would retire by age 70. But during a recent interview with the local Boston sports radio station WEEI, he changed his tune.
Via ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
“When I said it, maybe I didn’t know what 70 felt like,” the New England Patriots coach said Monday during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI. “So I’m not really sure if that’s an accurate statement today or not. At the time, I didn’t feel that way. Now that I’m closer to that age, I don’t know.”
How Belichick Measures Up to Shula
For perspective, Belichick has six Super Bowl victories along with a 273-126 (.684) regular season record with a 31-11 postseason record, .738 percentage in postseason play. By comparison, Shula won two Super Bowls and has a 328-156-6 regular season record, a .677 percentage. He also was 19-17 in the postseason (.528).
While people may not like it, Belichick’s sheer success during his two decades as a head coach of the Patriots put him in the same breath as Shula — even with all of the “scandals” over the years.