Ian Connor Discusses New Book About Bill Belichick

Ian O'Connor shared a poignant anecdote from his new book about Bill Belichick

Taz and the Moose
October 29, 2018 - 10:10 am

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Ian O’Connor dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Thursday to discuss his latest book, “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time.”

One of his biggest takeaways from writing the book? Bill Belichick is not who we think he is.

“The gap between the Belichick you see at the podium every day at news conferences and the person away from that facility is so different, it’s really two entirely different human beings,” O’Connor said on Taz & The Moose. “Talking to many of his friends, a lot of them didn’t want to be named because they realized that Bill doesn’t want to be humanized. And that was part of my mission: to humanize Belichick and present a full portrait of the man, not just the coach. They speak of him as a guy who is approachable. He could be kind and generous and even warm at times and engaging.”

In other words, the complete opposite of the coach who ignored high-fives from children in Detroit on Monday night.

“No low-five, no high-five, no medium-five,” O’Connor said. “But he walks by people in the hallway, including Robert Kraft, and doesn’t speak to them at times if he’s engrossed in thought. That is Bill at work, whether you’re a 9-year-old kid or the owner of the Patriots. But away from the facility, I guess the gap between that person and the person we see in his press conferences, I think that was maybe the biggest surprise.”

O’Connor shared a poignant anecdote from New England’s 17-14 loss in Super Bowl XLII – a loss that prevented the Patriots from capping a 19-0 season.

“That is the most devastating defeat of his career without question,” O’Connor said. “They were better than the Giants, although the Giants played them really tough at the end of that regular season. Seventeen things went wrong against them in that game. If just one of them went right, they win.”

Asante Samuel, for example, almost had a game-ending interception near the sideline, but he couldn’t make the catch. 

“Asante Samuel, he had the best hands on that team – and maybe the best hands for a defensive back in the entire league,” O’Connor said. “He had so many picks, and he didn’t grab that one. But there were 15 other things, too.”

Nevertheless, Belichick took complete accountability for the loss.

“In the locker room after the game, one of my favorite scenes in the book, Bill walks into the room, obviously it’s deathly quiet, that was a broken team – and he blamed himself in front of his players,” O’Connor said. “He didn’t speak for long, but I spoke with a number of players who said it was two minutes. He didn’t try to bring anyone else into the blame, including the players and the assistant coaches. He basically said, ‘This was my fault.’ And as he walked out, Donte Stallworth told me, it was like he just faded to black and disappeared. I actually think that’s one of his finest moments as a head coach – that he tried to help get his broken team through that moment by blaming himself.”