Patriots coach Bill Belichick should be praised despite disappointing finish

Growing up just 45 minutes away from Gillette Stadium, I have had the good fortune of watching the genius of Bill Belichick up close for the entirety of my life as a sports fan. I have seen five trips to the Super Bowl and three duck boat parades around Boston, but no season has shown the brilliance of Belichick more than this season despite the disappointing end in Denver on Sunday.

Belichick was dealt a tough hand this season, losing two starting tight ends, two All-Pro players in the middle of the defense, and his starting right tackle to injured reserve and incarceration.

Even with those losses, Belichick made do with what was at his disposal: castoffs from other teams, rookies, midseason free agents and players shifting positions.

This season’s edition of the Patriots is arguably the least talented team the organization has seen in the Belichick era, but New England made it within one game from playing in the organization’s sixth Super Bowl since the 2001 season through great coaching and leadership.

The fact that New England was able to win 12 games and earn the second seed in the AFC is a remarkable feat that should culminate in a Coach of the Year award for Bill Belichick and a cementing of his legacy as the Patriots’ helmsman.

 

Reach the columnist at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger