Sometimes you can't write a better story than the one that unfolds in real life. Bill Belichick won his first game as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns in Foxborough against the New England Patriots on Sept. 8, 1991.
Just more than 28 years later and on the other side of the field, Coach Belichick won his 300th game as a head coach with the New England Patriots against, you guessed it, the Cleveland Browns. He now sits third all-time, and the achievement didn't go unnoticed by people in the Patriots organization and beyond.
After the game, Robert Kraft presented Coach Belichick with the game ball, saying: "We don’t give game balls out without it being a special milestone. I want you to know, Sept. 8, 1991, the man on my left came to Foxborough to coach the Cleveland Browns against the New England Patriots and won his first game as a head coach. Twenty eight years later, he’s coming back to this same location and winning his 300th game, only the third man in history in the 100 years of the NFL to do that, and I’m happy as we all are that 263 of those 300 have been as coach of the New England Patriots. And I’m especially happy that 299 was against the New York Jets."
Mr. Kraft wasn't the only one to call attention to the milestone. In the postgame media availability, Patriots players praised their head coach.
"Being here 20 years ago, it was his first year, my first year, and it's been a great journey. I'm just proud of him, everything he's accomplished," Tom Brady said. "It's amazing to think that he coached for another place and they didn't think he was good enough, and then he comes here and does a great job. It's a great celebration for him and certainly hard-earned, well-deserved and the only thing better than 300 is 301."
Dont'a Hightower also spoke about it, put the sheer quantity in perspective.
"“I just think it’s crazy. Chase [Winovich], Shalique [Calhoun], a lot of us were just talking after Mr. Kraft gave his speech about it," he said. "I couldn’t name one thing I’ve done 300 times. For him to get 300 wins at this level, I think he says it a lot about how hard it is to win in this league and for him to do it 300 times in the way that he’s done, [I'm just] speechless.”
To go along with his theme of movie-based Instagram posts after wins, Julian Edelman honored Coach Belichick with the perfect movie: "300." On a more serious note, though, he talked about just how much Coach has meant to him Sunday night.
"He’s the best coach to ever do it – and I think in any sport. It’s getting there," he told reporters. "Put that on record … I may not know any other place, but I don’t think they get any better in any kind of sport, anything. He’s an absolute beast. You always feel like you have a shot to win a game with him."
When Matthew Slater was asked what single word he would use to describe Coach Belichick, it was an easy answer.
"Consistent, you know what you’re going to get from him and you know what is expected of you," he said. "There is no guess work involved in that. You know what he expects from this football team and that consistency is something you appreciate as a professional.”
You can check out what others had to say on social media around the league below.