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Analysis: Candid Belichick on individual performances, leadership

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Sealver Siliga

Bill Belichick made a couple of revealing comments this week.

For one, the man famous for preaching a "team-first" gospel actually conceded that individual performances matter on the football field.

"People say all the time there's no 'I' in team. That's true, but there's an 'I' in win," Belichick pointed out. "Within a team, strong individual performance determines whether or not we win. You can stand around all day and hold hands in the locker room chanting 'Team, Team, Team.' That's not going to do anything. Individual performance is critical to winning. Individual toughness is critical to winning. Every member of our team is a shareholder. Are they all exactly equal? Of course not."

This may seem perfectly obvious to most people, but it's startling coming from the lips of Belichick, for whom heaping individual praise on one of his own players is nearly tantamount to blasphemy.

Continuing, New England's head coach also admitted that when team co-captains are chosen each season, it's the players who make that decision… "most of the time." Those last four words are important because they imply that if Belichick doesn't approve of the choices, he may overrule them.

He then elaborated on his philosophy in this regard.

"Leadership comes from two things: No. 1, do your job; No. 2, put the team first. If those are in place, you're going to put out positive leadership.

"When your team is not voting for the people you would, you've probably got problems all the way through," Belichick reasoned. "If your team is made up of the right people, your captains will be the right people."

Belichick made these remarks while delivering the keynote address at a sports medicine seminar in Boston co-chaired by Patriots team physician Dr. Tom Gill.

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