Belichick’s magic act worthy of honor
That day, and in the immediate aftermath, one of the qualities that makes Bill Belichick perhaps the best in the business shone through.
It’s just one of the many reasons why he should win the NFL Coach of the Year Award for 2013.
During Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, amid a season already rocked by season-ending injuries to so many front-line players, Belichick had one more thrown onto the fire.
The Patriots watched Gronkowski get carted off the field, then staged a stirring comeback. They didn’t fold up the tent trailing by 12 points with two minutes to play.That’s largely because their coach didn’t flinch. While some might criticize the team’s lack of readiness in the past three games (the Pats fell behind by large margins in all three), what does it also say if the team refuses to quit week after week? Especially a team that would have every reason to throw in the towel, given all the players lost to injury.It’s a credit to the players’ mental toughness and resolve, but it also goes back to living by the coach’s mantra, playing until the final whistle and not wanting to upset the guy in the hoodie.
And his ability to make adjustments will be tested in a major way for the rest of the season without his difference-making tight end.
Beyond the Hernandez saga, the Pats have endured the early-season absence of Gronk, as well as season-ending injuries to Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Tommy Kelly and Sebastian Vollmer. And don’t forget the fallout from not re-signing Wes Welker.
“He has this calm. It’s a calm. He doesn’t hear too much outside talk,’’ Mayo said. ‘’If stuff happens such as injuries, he doesn’t panic. He makes sure everyone’s on the same page. He sets a lot of short-term goals. We don’t talk about the long term. We talk about the here and now. I think that’s been good for the team.’’
If that means plugging in street free agents to replace Pro Bowlers, which has been his solution on the defensive line, so be it.Belichick has won Coach of the Year on three occasions (2003, 2007, 2010). The Pats went to the Super Bowl in two of those seasons, but they might not have even been his best coaching jobs. There have been quite a few others, from the first year the Pats won the Super Bowl (2001) to 2008, when the Pats were 11-5 without Brady. And now there’s 2013, with a long list of problems to overcome. This year, for all he’s navigated, he deserves Coach of the Year. It’s among his best efforts, if not the best.Former Patriots fullback and current NFL analyst Heath Evans believes Belichick might be hurt in the race because half the credit for the Pats’ success goes to Brady. Ultimately, you still can’t overlook the accomplishment.