It's no secret that Bill Belichick is in some lofty company when it comes to all-time great NFL coaches. With five Super Bowl titles as a head coach, the Patriots boss already has more than any other in league history. But Belichick also is on the cusp of another astounding milestone if his team manages to win another Lombardi Trophy this season.
Rick Gosselin of talkoffamenetwork.com, a site dedicated to discussing the Hall of Fame credentials of various members of the NFL, wrote about Belichick's chance to join Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll and Green Bay's Vince Lombardi as the only coaches to win back-to-back titles twice.
"He owns seven Super Bowl rings – five as head coach of the Patriots and two as the defensive coordinator of the Giants," Gosselin wrote. "He has 237 career victories, fourth most all-time behind Hall of Famers Don Shula, George Halas and Tom Landry. Belichick also is one of only a dozen coaches ever to win back-to-back NFL titles, a fraternity that includes Hall of Famers Chuck Noll, Shula, Vince Lombardi and Paul Brown.
"About all that's left is for Belichick to win back-to-back championships for a second time in his career – a feat so rare it's been achieved by only two other coaches in history. Chuck Noll did it with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, and Vince Lombardi did it with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s."
Gosselin goes on to explain how much more impressive Belichick's achievements have been considering he's had to do it with almost entirely different casts while his predecessors had the luxury of keeping the nucleus of their teams together, which included 20 Hall of Famers – nine for Pittsburgh and 11 for the Packers.
Only one player remains from Belichick's first set of consecutive titles, quarterback Tom Brady.
"There have been two other occasions in his career that Belichick has had a shot at back-to-backs, but his 2002 team missed the playoffs, and his 2015 team fell in the AFC championship game," Gosselin explains. "Repeating is hard. Repeating for a second time in one's coaching career is considerably harder, which is why only Lombardi and Noll have done it in the NFL's first 96 seasons."
A solid offseason coupled with a strong group of returning veterans has the Patriots installed as the clear favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2017. In addition to the sixth for the franchise, it would put Belichick in some extremely heady company.