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Flashback: Best of Bill Belichick's First Press Conference

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19 years ago today, the Patriots named Bill Belichick head coach of the New England Patriots. As the team embarks on their 10th Super Bowl appearance in those 19 years, we look back at some notable quotes from Bill Belichick's introductory press conference on January 27, 2000.

Opening Statement

Thank you. Hopefully this press conference will go a little better than the last one I had. First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. I know it's late and short notice. I know the last three weeks have probably been trying for all of you, but that's all behind me. I'm tremendously excited to be here, to be a part of the New England Patriots organization. This is a first class operation. I've had an outstanding experience in 1996 when I was here with the Patriots and with Robert and I'm thrilled to be part of this organization and to be able to have the opportunity to lead this team. The opportunity to be in coaching was something that I wasn't sure that I would have as late as 24 hour ago, this year. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to have this chance to coach in the 2000 season. I'm thankful that things have worked out the way they have. It was quite an ordeal, but it's behind me and it's in the past and I'm focused on the future. I'm focused on the Patriots football team, the players, trying to get with the staff, the organization and trying to move as quickly as we can to make up for the time that has been lost between now and the end of the season where other teams have had a chance to move along.

As many of you know who have covered me and followed my career my basic philosophy on defensive football and overall in terms of winning football games is to have a strong, tough physical, both mentally and physical team and to try to be as well prepared as we possibly can for all situations that will come up in the course of the game and in terms of preparing for the game and for the season. As quickly as I can put those things into place here that's what I'll do. The shopping list is quite a long one, but the staff, speaking with the members of the current staff, coaching staff considerations, players, salary cap issues, personnel issues. Free agency is right around the corner. There's a lot of things that need to be done in a relatively short amount of time and I'm going to look as hard as I possibly can to get those things done efficiently and in a manner which will give our football team the best opportunity to win. That's all I really am about is trying to win football games.

I think the commitment by the Patriots toward winning and Mr. Kraft, is I know a very strong one. I've experienced that here in the one season that I was with the Patriots. I have tremendous respect for him and his commitment to winning. It's exciting to me to be part of the Patriots heading into a new stadium and a little bit of a new era with regard to the playing venue and that's a big thrill as well. So again I express my appreciation to Mr. Kraft for the confidence that he's shown in me and really I can't wait to start working as hard as I can to reward his confidence and not let him down. I'll be happy to take any questions.

Q: Bill Parcells said in his conference call that the "border war" between the two organizations was over do you tend to agree with that?

BB: My whole perspective on it is just about winning football games. I don't know about border wars and all that, all I know is when I was with the Patriots in 1996 we tried to beat the Jets and when I was with the Jets the last three years we tried to beat the Patriots and now that I'm with the Patriots we're going to try to beat the Jets next year and all the other games on the schedule. So, that's what it's about for me, it's not a personal thing. When some team comes into this stadium our job is to beat them and when we go into their stadium our job is to beat them there and that's what my preparation and focus will be towards.

Q: There were some mistakes that you made coaching in Cleveland what have you learned in your years since then and what will help you be a better coach now?

BB: I think that's a very fair question. The two biggest things that I feel that I've learned from the previous coaching experience and through 25 years of coaching would one be to delegate more, previously I think I've maybe tried to do too many little things. Too many things that maybe took away from bigger picture things that I should have been doing and secondly I've learned that as much as the game is played on the field and it's extremely important to do everything right when you reach the football field in order to win in this league, there are also a lot of things on the periphery and outside off the field that are also important towards winning and I'll put more time and effort into making sure those things are right for the organization maybe than I did previously.

Q: You were talking about delegating matters more does that mean that you will leave personnel matters to someone else?

BB: This is no one-man band here, I can't play all of the instruments. There are a lot of good people in this organization, and there are a lot of resources, people that I have worked with three years ago that are still here and I'm sure a lot of new faces who I've heard a lot of good things about and I'm looking forward to working with all those people in the organization on all different matters coaching, personnel, organizational and football operations matters. I'll take as much help and as many resources as I can to do the job and it's going to take everybody's commitment to winning for us to get the job done. One person can't do it. I'll work as hard as I can, but I'm going to need that kind of commitment from a lot of other people and demand it and if we all give than we'll be where we want to go.

Q: Considering the circumstances surrounding your departure from this organization a few years ago, are you amazed that you are back here, where you are?

BB: Again, three years in professional football is a longtime. A lot of things happen in one year let alone three, my experience here in 1996, I would say was one of the best years and one of the most funs years that I've had in professional football. It was truly an enjoyable season other than the final game and a couple of bumps along the road, but I came here after several opportunities when I left Cleveland, I came here and had a very brief meeting with Robert in which we discussed the parameters of my coming to the Patriots for that season. After I got here the things that he told me that he would do and the commitments that he made to me he exceeded by a lot more than what we he had committed to and I felt extremely welcome. I thought that the relationship between the players, the fans and the whole organization here in New England was a very, very positive one. I went to school for a while in New England I have a sense of the fans and the teams and the loyalty both ways in those different areas and I was caught up in that. The team had tremendous success all the way along through the season. Anything that came where I was involved with the Patriots organization, specifically Robert, but even broader than that with Andy [Wasynczuk] and Jonathan [Kraft] and Dan [Kraft], anything that I asked for was either granted or give to me or it was gone beyond that. If I asked for something that they could help me with, they not only helped but they added to it. I was tremendously impressed with the class of this organization and the way that they were genuinely committed toward winning and helping me and I saw them help other people along the way as well and that's really why I'm so excited about being back here.

Q: This seems like it's the perfect opportunity for you, you went to school in New England, you coached here, what would have happened if this didn't work out would it have been probably one of the most disappointing things that ever happened to you in the NFL?

BB: I couldn't put it any better than that, that's pretty good. I think this, along with the two Super Bowl wins this is a career highlight for me, a tremendous opportunity, I'm thrilled to be here and thrilled to be a part of the Patriots organization. I don't know if I can adequately put it in to words, but I'm very happy.

Q: With the new stadium there is going to be a lot of pressure on you to help sell luxury boxes, what would you say to the fans to convince them and the potential season ticket holders that it will be worth their investment?

BB: I think that talking isn't going to do it, I think that the fans are going to judge me and judge our football team by what we do and what our performance is and that's really what we should be judged by. So, what I'm going to demand from the players and the people in the organization that are working for me that they make the commitment toward a championship caliber football team. That's what our goal is and if we get that commitment, when we get that commitment we're going to get it, when we get that commitment and we put the product on the field that the fans are excited about and support they'll back us. If we don't perform to that level, I'm sure they won't be happy about it and neither will I.

Q: How important to you is it you for a head coach to have final day on player personnel matters?

BB: I think it's important for the organization for everyone to be on the same page, working in the same direction 100 percent, that is what I think is important. I don't think it's important who's right, it's important what's right and that's what concerns me is making decisions that are right for the New England Patriots not my decisions or your decisions or somebody else's decision, but the right decisions.

Q: You said you expect this team to win next year, could you talk about that more specifically, win more than this year, is it getting into the playoffs, is it the AFC Championship?

BB: Well my expectations are every time we walk onto the field I expect that our football team is going to win. I've never coached a team where I've walked out there feeling like we don't have a chance to win and that comes from the team being committed and being well-prepared for the situations that come up and I expect to feel that way every week this year. Now, I understand that nobody in this league wins every single game, but every time we go out there and play I'm going expect to win and I'm going to expect that our players are going to expect to win.

Q: Can you talk about what you have been doing the last three weeks and also about your state of mind especially after you got shot down the last time in court?

BB: One thing I have been doing is trying to figure out how I was going to pay the legal bills. Another thing I've been doing is some projects around the house which I can see I have no future in that. Another thing I have been doing is spending more time with my family and kids and being more involved in their activities which during the course of a football season, for any coach in the National Football League, gets severely cut back. I guess lately I've been doing a lot of hoping that somehow things would work out and I'm very gratified that they did. Thank you very much.

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