Bill Belichick On Leadership, Winning, Tom Brady Not A ‘Great Natural Athlete’ (Exclusive) | CNBC

Bill Belichick On Leadership, Winning, Tom Brady Not A ‘Great Natural Athlete’ (Exclusive) | CNBC


I think I know a little bit about competition. I think I know a little bit about leadership. And I think I know a little bit about football. “Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of all time.” We’re at mission BBQ in Annapolis Maryland your choice why are we eating here? Well, first of all I love Annapolis this is home and I love what the mission barbecue stands for I love their message the fact that they support the people that serve. When I was here last night they were packing up a few hundred pounds of their BBQ to ship off to Iraq. Is it true that at twelve noon and mission barbecue they stand up and sing the national anthem? You’ll see for yourself. There’s a sign over there that says every battle is won before it is fought. You said that’s one of the few signs you have in the Patriots headquarters. Sun Tzu, “The Art of War.” It’s all about preparation you know what you’re doing and you have an idea what the opponents can do what their strengths weaknesses are. Then, once you get into the game then those adjustments will be I won’t say easy but relatively easier more manageable. How do you know when you’re well enough prepared? When everybody knows what to do because our games are so fast, things happen so quickly. So you review the situation to review the communication, you try to make sure that everybody’s on the same page if it’s too complicated it’s probably not going to work. If it’s too simple that might not work either because it’s too obvious so you try to find that that that fine line in the middle where it’s challenging enough for your opponents but something you can execute again it comes down to execution. Let’s talk about the Super Bowl for a second. It’s been two months and it was amazing. Are you still processing it? Yes I have to go back and watch it every once in a while just to make sure it came out the way I remember it. Was there any point where you thought you weren’t going to win? It was funny this is one of those games where we didn’t have control of the score, but I didn’t feel like we had lost control of the game. We could move the ball, we were able to stop on third down we were able to do things but the scoreboard was very much against us. As long as there was still time I felt we had a chance. Were you scared? No, I just tried to take it from play to play and make, you know, the best decision we can for the next play you know it all fell in place for us at the end which it had to if one thing had gone wrong we would have probably come up short. What did it feel like? Close to a miracle. I think we had one of those great catches go in our favor and we’ve seen him go the other way in other games, so you know that was a kind of a miracle. What’s fascinating about your job and what the world watches you do is you make decisions and have plays before the game but then you get out there in the field and the entire game is making a decision after decision in the moment I mean this is sort of like leadership on steroids. I think General Eisenhower put it pretty well a battle plan is great until you actually get into the battle then it doesn’t mean anything. So, that’s the way it is in football, you have a game plan you go into the game now you start playing you see what your opponent’s doing or they make an adjustment to what you’re doing and then you have to change so my job as a coach is to make good decisions it’s not to go out there and block or tackle thank God that wouldn’t be very good. To take information, calculate it, put it through some kind of process and figure out what’s the next thing to do and so that happens from really the first play of the game. I want to play a little word association game. Okay i’m gonna say word and just want your immediate snap reaction. Sure. Football. More sport than business but it’s a business. But I respect the game for the game and for the sport. The media. It’s how a team connects to its fans. Deflategate. Ridiculous. Aaron Hernandez. Tragedy. Heartbreaking. Yes, that’ll be another word. Winning. The goal. There’s no medals for trying. This isn’t like eighth grade where everybody gets a trophy. We’re in a professional sport and its competitive to win that’s what we do. Well you’ve been called the chief economist of football you were the person who saw the financial value of undervalued players I mean it’s considered one of your great skills and you always had incredible financial discipline as a coach. Right but none of us got into football to be a professional football player none of us got into professional football to be a professional coach or to manage a cab or manage a team all of us that got into football got into football because the game because we love to go to practice we’d love to play the game when we were eight, nine, 10 years old. It’s hard to even think about your story without without thinking about your dad although he’s never the head coach in Annapolis but he was an assistant coach was enormously respected wrote a book about football. Was football a calling to you? Absolutely and my dad had great relationships with other members of the staff I learned coaching at an early age, how coaches think, how coaches… you know what bothers them what doesn’t bother i’m kinda then just a lot of coaching styles. But again, that was part of it too is you can learn like look all ten of these guys are good coaches they each have different personalities they each have different styles what does that mean you figure out what works for you I took a lot from everybody and somehow figured it out. I think that’s kind of I think to me in business or in life there’s a like “just figure it out.” Your dad taught you a ton about football but what did your dad teach you about life? I learned a lot from my dad. He was the was the youngest of five grew up in a poor environment. His big break really was football. He worked his way through college, lived in the gym and a closet of summer jobs and all that. He made a career out of football and ultimately ended up here at the Naval Academy where I think he was destined to be because he loved his country and the quality of people that come here because of their toughness their work ethic and their devotion to the country and their duty. So that’s really what he’s about or what he was about and so many of those lessons I learned either from him or from my association with the academy or from my association with the people at the Naval Academy which represented the same values. What would you call your most defining moments of your career? Where I probably learned the most is my first year in 1975 because I took a job, was given a job with the Colts and I didn’t have any experience and they were very understaffed. I wasn’t getting paid anything but I had a lot of responsibility for that position and so I was able to learn a lot it was like having two or three graduate courses in one year. After that year when I went to Detroit, we were one in four we were playing the Patriots who were four in one. They had a great team and I went back to an experience that I had and I talked to our offensive coordinator at that time and said, “Look I know we haven’t ever used this formation but you know I studied this formation while I was in Baltimore last year like I think this is really going to give the Patriots a problem. Can we take a look at this?” So we went through it we looked at it we used it and you know we won a game by three touchdowns it was a huge upset. That was kind of one of those where I’m like okay I I can I can coach in this league. What did you take away from that? Don’t be afraid to use a good idea just because it’s unconventional just because somebody else hasn’t done it. If you believe in it’s a good idea then you know don’t be afraid to use it. Fast forward I take the job with the Patriots in 2000. The first meeting we have in the spring this is back in the old Foxboro Stadium so it’s kind of a small room for squeezing the whole team in there. Here comes yeah the guys first round draft pick from a prior year walks into the front of the meeting not into the back walks into the front and kind of sits down and I’m already I’ve already started the meeting. I’m 3-4 minutes into it and you know I just look at him like, “What are you doing?” He said, “Sorry coach.” “Just get out of here.” We’re not gonna start this program off with you walking in whenever you feel like walking in. I don’t care if a guy’s a number one draft choice or not a number one draft choice. We’re just not going to run a team like this. If you had to describe the principles of your leadership style or approach what would they be? Do your job, be attentive. Pay attention to details and put the team first. In football to be successful as an individual player you need your teammates and the better you connect with them the better you interact as a team the more successful you’ll be individually and I’d say we try to do things to help the team building process. Like what? Well, you know, on the field if one person does something particularly good then everybody receives the benefit. So now you’re counting on that other person even though he not might not be in your side of the ball. You might not even really like the guy but if he does the right thing, we all get something, well you’re pulling for him and then off the field again we do team building things where we get to know each other. We throw away the cell phones and just do things that we’re together as a team and we’re experiencing together whether it be you know going to a movie or we play games or do trivia or do something like that it just kind of brings everybody together to have fun to take all the outside distractions out of us. Speaking of distractions you’re not a big fan of social media? Yeah that would be put it mildly. I think I do all I can to fight it. You know we have rules that you know prohibit our players from you know posting things on Insta and Face and all that we don’t and I think it’s important for us to as a team to know each other know our teammates and our coaches to interact with them more than it is to be liked by you know whoever on chat room. So we try to encourage the interaction and the personal contact and experiences and not really pay attention of what if people are saying out there who don’t even know. Look I understand not going to eliminate it don’t even care whether people go on it or our players go on it or not I don’t really care about that. I care about as a relates to our football team and as much as I can eliminate it on our team, I’m gonna try to stamp it out. Talk about how you think about what the right relationship is with your with your subordinates really. There’s a couple elements to it. One is coaching and just from a pure coaching standpoint I try to coach all the players the same. Don’t you have favorites like everyone else? Honestly I like all the players that we have I respect all of our players and if I favor one that’s not favoring 52. The way I look at it is I give everybody what they earn. He tries to make it harder for us in practice than it is in the game. You’ve had a long and unbelievable partnership with Tom Brady. What are your thoughts on Tom Brady? A really special player to coach. He works very hard he’s very smart he’s trained hard he’s worked hard on throwing mechanics he’s worked hard on his mental understanding of the game and process. He’s earned everything that he’s achieved. It wasn’t always there, he’s not a great natural athlete. He’s a very smart instinctive football player. But he may end up in the greatest of all time. Yeah, absolutely. It’s not all about talent. It’s about dependability, consistency and being able to improve again and if you work hard and you understand your coachable and you understand what you need to do, you can improve. Let’s talk about mistakes. Leadership mistakes, your career mistakes. Any stick out? After every game I look at the mistakes that were made in that game by me, by the coaching staff, and you know we need to address those and correct those. Good players can’t overcome bad coaching it’s impossible. On a personal level, the one thing that I’ve definitely learned is you’ve got to count on your most dependable people. I’ll put it this way if we’re going to lose I’m going to lose with that guy or that person’s mistake or coming up short in that area and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but I’m going down with that person. Might not be your most talented person that you count on your most dependable people. There been times when I put I would say too much responsibility on people that weren’t dependable and they didn’t come through and so whose fault’s that? Mine. When you’re the head coach, you can only do so many details and I would say at times I was too detail-oriented in some of the tasks that I was on and didn’t have enough breadth or give enough leadership in other areas. I mean, every team has young players and they have wives and girlfriends and they had babies and they have parents that are sick. All that somewhere or other you know all runs in together so the more you can handle those, the more that you can help take care of those as an organization as a head coach, then the smoother the the ship runs on the football end. Was there ever a plan B? What a football hadn’t worked out? So, what I want to do is be a graduate assistant and go and get a business degree or an economics degree, post-graduates. And maybe become a professor? No, I think go into business. Go into business. Does that thought keep going through your head for a while or when did you sort of let go of that? Coach offered me a job in Detroit so I went to Detroit so I went from twenty-five dollars a week to ten thousand dollars a year plus a car Detroit. That looked pretty good at that time so I’m like all right I’m in. I’ve heard you say that it’s not what you know it’s who you know. So true, so true. In life it’s so much of you know the opportunities that you get from people that you know, the opportunities that those relationships give you as opposed to you know what’s in a book or you know what you’ve studied. You have three children and they are following in your footsteps two of your boys are working with the Patriots organization now. Your daughter is the coach at Holy Cross, the women’s lacrosse coach. How do you feel about them going into the same world that you were in? I’ve told them kind of the same thing my dad told me which is follow your heart you know if there’s something that you love then and that’s your passion when you’re young, do it and let everything else take care of itself don’t don’t do it for you no money or some other motivation do it because it’s what you want to do. Bill, this is my dad’s jacket he wore as a physical education instructor at the Naval Academy and I feel like this is where it should be in this restaurant and he’s one who served. Coach, thanks. I know what Annapolis in the Naval Academy meant to the Belichicks. We will so probably display this and we’re humbled. Do you foresee yourself coaching for the indefinite future? Retirement does not beckon, apparently? Yeah again, I’m kind of short-sighted here so I’m good you know certainly good here for this year, good for a while. I like what I’m doing I enjoy all parts of the game. The team building, training camp, game days. It’s still the excitement of Sunday. It really is. Is the goal to go back and win the Super Bowl again? Well that’s too far away. The goal right now is to put a good competitive team together, then the goal would be to have our team compete and work the way it needs to work to have a good Spring, then to have a good training camp than to be ready for the start of the season. So, we can only control what we can control in the short term: this week our next opportunity. So that’s where we’re at. “Not one, not two, not three, not four. This is number five. How do y’all feel about number five?” Where are all the rings? In a safe. I’m not a big jewelry person. You know they’re there, right? Right and they were earned. You can’t buy them in the store. They were earned, they’ll never be able to take them away. That’s a proud feeling to have. That’s an achievement that was competitively earned and that ring symbolizes achievement and accomplishment. So, very proud.

100 Replies to “Bill Belichick On Leadership, Winning, Tom Brady Not A ‘Great Natural Athlete’ (Exclusive) | CNBC”

  1. More than any other team sport, Football really is a team sport. You don't have to be naturally gifted. If the system is efficient and players can do their part, then you will win. The WHOLE is greater than the sum of its parts. You can't say the same in other sports where talent and gifted athletes really do determine the outcome 99% of the time. Not in Football.

  2. with all these meetoo females getting football players in trouble ,the last thing I wanna see is one giving enterviews about football

  3. from what i have seen belichick is the epitome of a leader. much respect to this man and tom but bill is the true wizard behind the patriots success

  4. The NFL needs to name something BIG after this guy…….. His teams accomplishments are NOT an accident. He even takes it personally when they lose…. This is a coach who wills his team to Victory & that's nothing short of incredible/ Talent/ Professional!!!

  5. I think the SB victory over the Rams may have cemented him as the best coach ever. The Pats just decimated the Rams offense. I think this was his win. The Falcons game was Brady's. Flame away.

  6. On the “fun to watch” scale MJ has it on the offense, defense, sideline, interviews pre- and post game, mentoring, etc. All this business about the g.o.a.t doesn’t really matter to the average fan.

  7. There have been a handful of absolutely legendary Head Coaches in the NFL in my lifetime (I was born in late September 1971). Bill Parcells, Tom Landry, Don Shula, and Bill Walsh are the first ones that come to mind. Certainly Joe Gibbs and John Madden belong in the discussion. There are a select few others, and I won't include anybody still coaching in this group, as their legacies are still being forged. But I will say this. Bill Belichick is the gold standard for Head Coaches in the modern era. Yes, he's benefited tremendously by working under an owner in Robert Kraft who will do what is necessary to win, aggressively pursuing talent in free agency. Belichick has also been incredibly fortunate to have the great Tom Brady under center for the vast majority of his time in New England. But anybody who watched this most recent playoffs has to tip the cap to Coach Belichick. His Pats went up against the #1 and 2 scoring offenses in the NFL in the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl, Kansas City and Los Angeles, and his defense shut both out in the first half. You don't oft stop offensive juggernauts for four quarters-the Chiefs broke through in the second half, but the Rams were made to feel so uncomfortable on offense against Belichick's schemes-the defensive unit, for all intents and purposes, won the game. Yes, Brady got hot late, and led the offense on the only touchdown of the game late to clinch it, but holding a unit that averaged a whopping 33 ppg during the regular season to a field goal-you can't help but recognize greatness when you see it.

    The Patriots can beat you so damned many ways. Brady, still playing at an incredibly high level, if protected, can pick the best defenses apart. Their defense can beat you. Their coaching can beat you. Their drafting, their salary cap management, their talent assessment-before the season even begins, the Patriots are already a leg up on the rest of the NFL. Six Super Bowls, and nine appearances, overall, during the Belichick era, will likely never be matched. Hell, the Pats might not even be done yet. Who's to say they don't get back next year and win it again?

    But while giving credit where credit is due, the Patriots are not the greatest team in NFL history. That honor goes to Vince Lombardi's Packers.

    Am I a Packers fan? Hell, yes. Does that invalidate my opinion, which is based on historical fact? It shouldn't. You can try to diminish that group's accomplishments by saying "there were fewer teams", or, "there were fewer playoff games played back then". Well, yes, there were in both instances. But you couldn't just sneak into the playoffs because you played in a weak division. To make the playoffs, you had to win your division. In 1960, 1961 and 1962, it was the winner of the East against the winner in the West for all the marbles. The Packers lost the NFL Championship in 1960 13-17 to the NFL-best 10-2 Philadelphia Eagles. Lombardi's 8-4 Packers came up about 5 yards short of winning the game on the last play. The Packers played in nine more playoff games under Lombardi between 1961 and 1967. They never lost again. Five NFL Championships in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls. And while the Patriots won their first three Super Bowls by a field goal each time, the Packers were destroying their Championship Game/Super Bowl opponents:

    1961 NFL Championship Green Bay Packers 31, New York Giants 0
    1962 NFL Championship Green Bay Packers 16, New York Giants 7
    1963 NFL Championship Green Bay Packers 23, Cleveland Browns 12
    1964 Super Bowl I Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10
    1965 Super Bowl II Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14

    The Packers outscored their opponents 138 to 43 in those games, a 19 point average margin of victory. In the Super Bowls, that margin of victory rises to 22 points.

    Those five Packer teams went 55-13-1 in the regular season, an .809 winning percentage. Add in the nine playoff games, and the Packers were 64-13-1, good for an .831 winning percentage.

    And, while I do think the cheating allegations against the Patriots are somewhat overblown, the fact remains that the NFL had to take punitive steps against the team. How much Belichick was involved is debatable, but the team under his watch did break the league's rules, not just once, but twice. It shouldn't diminish the team's historical standing-they're still one of the greatest teams in the league's history, but they cannot be considered the very best.

    I have the greatest admiration for the Patriots franchise, and what they have done. I'm just glad the Packers had a chance to beat New England in the Super Bowl before Kraft had Belichick and Brady in place. But, respectfully, Vince Lombardi's name is on the Super Bowl trophy for a reason. And there it shall remain.

  8. I've been a Packer fan for decades but you gotta give credit when it's due. This is the greatest coach of all time and you need to do more than let the air out of a few footballs to have the success they've had over the long term.

  9. 14:54 "Thanks. I know what Annapolis and the Naval Academy meant to the Belichecks (sic) and we will proudly display this." (I just don't know how to pronounce Belichick)

  10. Have you noticed there's a mix of admiration that's, simply due to the power of the position, and that's due to the actual performance. For example, a middle linebacker will often lead a team in tackles, even if he isn't the best tackler. A QB who performs well on 83% of the snaps will get much more credit than an offensive lineman who performs well on 98% of the snaps. It's the nature of the position. A football win, like winning a battle, is a group accomplishnent. The general and the guy on the front lines are two different guys doing two different jobs, but the higher ranking guy will be treated better at official events, even if he sucks at his job. Not complaining, just an observation.

  11. What an amazing, humble man. Many nuggets of gold! Such wisdom! And not just for football…for life!

    This should be studied and taught at every dinner table….

  12. This interview is a treasure trove of great leadership lessons. You can tell Bill studies a lot on the topic of leadership. He echos a lot of what all of the top leadership speakers/authors preach.

  13. That last picture though. Thats a “Thanos Infinity Rings” looks like to me. Appreciate greatness because after this Dynasty over it might be take awhile or forever to beat that Patriots Dynasty especially in NFL. If they win one more ring (7th) they should change the Trophy to BB and the SB MVP to TB12 names (imo).

  14. I think you know their bill a lot about spying on teams before the Super Bowl and I also know you know about how the referees made a horrible call when Charles Woodson sacks Tom Brady in the AFC Championship to win the game and they made some stupid rule after that called the Tuck Rule save their asses from a horrible call that should have gotten the Raiders into the Super Bowl that year. The Patriots should never have gone to that Super Bowl. So there's two Super Bowls right there that they shouldn't have even one. And now I'm not a Raider fan I'm an NFL fan and I no bulshit when I see it and he's been around a lot of it. You should tell them about that their Billy boy

  15. If Belichick had been commander instead of General Persching WW1 would have been done before 1st March 1918 with plenty of more survivors.

  16. LoL my family has countless military members.. from Dad to uncle's.. it was what poor people did coming up in the old days or those that needed focus discipline and values . Also it was used as a mans right of passage ( you went into the military to become a Man ..if you made it back home ). In this video it seemed like there was a few jabs placed due to the situations presented and confronted by the silent protest kneeling for the anthem ( Very bias racist song in it's originality… Factually speaking) . So when folks make comments about military in football interviews even though bills dad was a Navy guy..( so was mine.. and my uncle etc) and then start standing up for national anthem during the interview LoL… Come on.."message" it's pointing out his stance on the issue publicly. When seemingly bill doesn't give media material to play with and create narratives to play on the public. . I had stopped 6 minutes in for the silliness.. let's not get personal..or shall I ask when is it okay to get personal? Because all of it is ! But thing is on one hand it doesn't effect many outside of their emotional respect for something and on the other hand its effect speaks to the narrative of continued mistreatment the original song lyrics details.

  17. Suzy……this was one of the finest and well prepared interviews I have ever watched, and with out a doubt the best interview with Bill Belichick ever and he was as relaxed as I have ever seen….Congrads !!!!!

  18. Colin Kaepernick ain’t allowed in that BBQ… Y’all know soon as that song places he ain’t giving no F’s about it ..

  19. Lifelong Dolphins fan here ..and I have ALLWAYS hated Brady and Belichick and Sadly after 46 years and nfl fan I stopped watching the nfl I’m sure you all can figure out why…but this year I will only be watching the Patriots…my respect for Belichick and Brady has brought me me back Sorta ..land WOW CANT BELIEVE IM SAYING THIS…GO PATRIOTS…🇺🇸🇺🇸

  20. I watched this excellent introspective interview and really wonder how anybody could give Ms Welch a negative thumbs down rating. Maybe 398 typos?

  21. So pay our soldiers millions of dollars. I hate how coach keeps making contrasts between the military and nfl players. I mean for real they’re playing football not trying to detect ied’s. He’s like trump in a lot of ways. He hijacks someone else’s experiences and uses it to his advantage. Remember this man paid a 2x murderer and gang banger $40 million. He has no real morality.

  22. Coach Belichick just understand all phases of football better than anyone else! He leaves no stones unturned. Details…

  23. you also you are the goat you and Brady can filled a barn someone says what is better than a goat be already a Hall of Fame and still play or coach other season coming other Super BOWL When you have the magic recipe to win Voila

  24. @ 4:20 when she’s talking about undervalued players, they showed Hogan! Amazing editing and post prod.

  25. They were earned! No one will be able to take them away!
    Not “Tuck rule”,
    Not “spygate”,
    Not “deflategate”,
    Not Goodell or anyone else! The only reason those “scandals” were started was to make sure Canton’s door wouldn’t open before the 5 year post retirement rule. Because if it wasn’t for those instances, Brady, Bill and Bob got in yesterday!

  26. I can't wait till Brady gets to old to hog Belichick's as a couch and Belichick finally gets to show everyone that Tom.Brady was a product of his system and that he can take any advantage QB amd and get them into the hall of fame…

    Brady is nothing without Belichick.

  27. John wooden will always be the greatest coach of all time. But belichick may be at #2. I put him ahead of Red Auerbach, adolph rupp, vince lombardi, chuck knoll, bill walsh, and i might put him ahead of phil jackson……phil jackson and belichick are a toss up at #2 all time…..for me.

  28. I take that one quote where Coach Belichick mentions "don't be afraid to use an idea, just because it's an unconventional one… Just because nobodies done it," and so that doesn't always automatically make it a bad idea.

  29. The New England Patriots and the only ship and the coach versus the coach Bill Belichick is the only guy I would give respect to no-nonsense guy don't put up with any athlete that demands and think he's better than the organization they're gone the ultimate respect for Bill Belichick I would vote for him for president cuz he wouldn't beat around the bush and get things done everybody else trying to catch up with him but the only problem everybody else are liberal Liberal way of thinking kisses football ball players asses and that's not how you win I used to be a Pittsburgh Steeler fan but the coach they got now I have no respect for I had that same respect and I was just a young boy but Vince Lombardi was much like this no-nonsense guy expect the very best out of his players and no bulshit you play honor respect and that's what bilichek is all about

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