After watching “A Football Life: Bill Belichick” on the NFL Network, I knew I wanted to learn more about Belichick and his success. During warmer months (maybe since there are no football games to watch), I love to relax by reading. I came across this book, “WAR ROOM: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team”
“War Room” chronicles the work of Bill Belichick and his way of acquiring talent to build an NFL empire. Belichick has a skill for putting together a team of not just players, but also scouts and coaches. Many of his former assistant coaches you know, like Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, and Josh McDaniels. For everyone Belichick has lost to another team, his system is set up so the next man can step right up! What I loved most about this book is how it shows the fine line between business relationships and personal relationships. One example is the fall out between Mangini and Belichick before and most certainly after the Spygate scandal. During this time, the wives and children of these guys remained close, coming over for dinners and sitting together in owner’s suites.
When it comes to utilizing the NFL Draft to build a team, most would agree Bill Belichick is one of the best to ever do it. This year was no different. The Patriots impressed football and draft experts everywhere with their 2012 NFL draft selections. This book gives much insight on the Patriots’ way of drafting. One highlight from the book that puts into perspective:
“Their system was based on comparatives, Our Guys vs. the Guys in the Draft, so there were quizzical looks for any scout who described a player as a “first-round pick” or “backup safety”. There was a numerical system in place, with alerts built in so an evaluator could quickly see if a player was height deficient, went to a small school, had an injury history, was a character concern, or had problems picking up schemes. The idea was to find players in the country who had a realistic shot of being better than one of the fifty-three players on the Patriots roster.” Holley, Michael (2011-11-08). War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team (pp. 109-110). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Although the Patriots won the AFC Championship this past season, the Patriot defense ranked 31st in the league. Clearly the Patriots urgently wanted to improve. They walked away from the 2012 draft with 7 new Patriots (6 of them defensive players, 2 from the first round).
The first half of the book details the Brady/Bledsoe controversy, the first 3 Patriot Superbowl Championships, Spygate, and the 1st Superbowl loss to the Giants after a perfect season in 2007. However, instead of just rehashing history, this book really gives the reader an inside look about how those events unfolded. Again, what I love is the intimate picture of the relationships between coaches, scouts, players, and Belichick.
As a fan (and blogger), I know football is a business. Still as a fan, I get to enjoy the games and season longer than the men involved in this never-ending cycle of the NFL. Scott Pioli is the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs, and former front office executive of the New England Patriots. This quote from Pioli (who is also a son-in-law of Bill Parcells) really shows how even in success, one must maintain an “on to the next” mentality. This was Pioli’s feeling after just winning a 3rd Superbowl ring:
“For whatever reason, what stood out more than the parties and parades was the reality of how far behind we were,” Pioli says. “[ Bill and I] missed the Senior Bowl, we missed the East-West game, the Combine’s around the corner, and there’s no time. And the thing is, it’s just this obsession of wanting to have sustained success. One of the regrets is that we didn’t celebrate enough.” Holley, Michael (2011-11-08). War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team (pp. 117-118). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the Spygate Scandal. After reading this book and understanding more about the Patriot way, I believe the Patriots really earned those championships. I also believe the Patriots will be an NFL powerhouse for years to come under this system. Love or hate Bill Belichick, one thing is for sure: His system breeds success.