Bill Belichick geeks out over football history as Patriots travel to Green Bay – NBC Sports

  • October 1, 2022

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a reputation for only grumbling out a few words when asked questions by the media, but he can be the most articulate coach in the NFL when asked about a topic he enjoys talking about. And there are few topics Belichick enjoys talking about more than the history of football.
So with the Patriots traveling to Green Bay to take on the Packers on Sunday, Belichick delivered a long lecture about the Packers’ place in football history at his press conference on Friday.
“I talked about this Wednesday, but I had a chance to show the team some of the great Packer players, coaches, [Curly] Lambeau, so we all know who Lambeau is. Saw him on the sideline. [Clarke] Hinkle, [Cecil] Isbell, [Don] Hutson, great,” Belichick said. “Some of the great players there. Just connecting the dots a little bit there. Lot of tradition there, lot of tradition going into Lambeau. Seeing those names up on the stadium.”
Belichick talked about enjoying seeing the Lambeau Field scoreboard when he watches Packers film.
“When you watch film, and they play at home, which they did against the Bears, right? But, plenty of other games to watch. Every time they show the scoreboard, there’s Hutson, right? There’s [Vince] Lombardi. There’s Lambeau. You see the names literally after every play, or actually, before every play,” Belichick said. “Before every play on the scoreboard shot. Some of our players, honestly, they don’t know who some of these people are. I mean, this is 80 years ago or more. I mean, Lambeau started in what, 1921? About 100 years for him. Now he was there, what, 25 years? Mid 40s? I forget what his last year was, but somewhere in there. But, I’m just saying, it’s just kind of, you see a lot of names, you see them on the stadium, see everybody talking about them. The stadium’s named after him. Who is he? Who’s Hutson? Bear Bryant, Hutson, Lambeau, [Knute] Rockne, Notre Dame. I think there’s a lot that these players and coaches, I’ve talked to the coaches about it too, you know, ‘I’ve heard about it, where is this all kind of connected?’ It’s all kind of interesting.”
Belichick then showed a detailed knowledge of the Xs and Os of Curly Lambeau’s offenses, and how Lambeau shifted from a power running offense to the NFL’s best passing offense.
“Lambeau took the Notre Dame box, which was a shift in the backfield, power football, nobody ever split out, power play after power play after power play. That’s what it was and then he got Hutson. Then he got Isbell and then he got Hinkle and then he very quickly became ‘Air Lambeau.’ Split Hutson out, you never saw that. So they actually had a split receiver, actually ran pass patterns, pass routes. Isbell was a, like they all were, quarterback-tailbacks, but he could throw. I mean, this guy was a tremendous passer and the Isbell-Hutson connection was a good one, a very good one. I mean, the best in football. Then they got Hinkle, and Hinkle was a great runner. Not that Isbell couldn’t run, but not like Hinkle could. Then it became sort of, Isbell could throw, Hinkle could run and so it was the T from the single-wing, right? Instead of handing the ball from the T-formation, they handed it off from the single-wing formation. Isbell ran occasionally, but most of the time it was Hinkle, and then when they wanted to throw, it was Isbell throwing to primarily Hutson, but whoever.”
Next, Belichick explained how Hutson was such a great player coming out of Alabama that two NFL teams signed him, resulting in the NFL commissioner having to determine which team had submitted its contract first. The NFL implemented the draft after that to determine how college players would be allocated.
“And then the whole Hutson and the draft story, like that’s another tremendous story,” Belichick said. “The whole NFL draft really is a result of the Hutson situation. Which of course all these guys were drafted, or were involved in the draft, every single one of them. Why do we have a draft? Hutson. That’s why we have a draft. We’ve got post mark, postage stamps and letters. Is he a Giant? Is he a Packer? Is he a Giant? Is he a Packer? Alright, he’s a Packer. Betting on him was probably worth it. Greatest receiver in the history of football and certainly in that era. I’m sure he still has a pretty major role in all of the NFL history stats. That’s always kind of fun to look back on it.”
Belichick talked about his first time seeing the Packers in person, and then explained the Packers’ history of playing in both Green Bay and Milwaukee.
“Yeah, preseason game. No actually that was in Milwaukee when I was with the Lions. I actually went there and scouted them,” Belichick recalled. “So it was two games in Milwaukee. If I have this right, it was two games in Milwaukee, and six games in Green Bay, or five games in Green Bay back in the 14-game season. Something like that. In Milwaukee, of course you had both teams at center field. The whole baseball setup. Which was fairly common back in those days. Now you had the other baseball stadiums like Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, or Cleveland Municipal Stadium where teams were on opposite sides. But like here in Fenway, Minnesota and Milwaukee. We had both teams on the same sideline. Again, that was another thing we saw today. That was a look at it, it was actually a game in Detroit. But it’s like why are both teams on the same side of the field? But that was baseball stadiums. But it’s quite, honestly it’s quite a scene there. The whole, the community, it’s kind of in a residential area. Then all of a sudden the stadium just like pops out in the middle of nowhere and here you are. That’s Green Bay. But the fact that they played two games away from Green Bay for however many years they did that, it was quite a few, in Milwaukee. It’s really a state team. See all the cheeseheads. It’s great.”
None of that history will matter much to the Patriots on Sunday, but Belichick said he spent time making sure the Patriots’ players and coaches knew that history this week, as he sees the history of the game as something everyone in the NFL should know.
Just a cheater and Jeff Fisher clone without Brady, there is no debate among anyone who knows anything about football.
Day by day by day 😂
I expect Coach BB to call it a wrap on his coaching career very soon and after that the league really needs to hire this guy in some role and put him on tv.. or create a role for him. Maybe NFL films or something.
He’s right, Hutson basically discovered the forward pass, in the same way Babe Ruth discovered the home run, both were totally paradigm-shifting players who completely changed how their respective sports were played. But while everyone knows who Ruth was, a century later, even with baseball’s huge decline in popularity, somehow, despite being the country’s favorite sport, most modern NFL fans seem totally ignorant of Hutson’s rightful place in history. Love Belichick’s keen awareness of the game’s past.
And then there are guys like Rex Ryan who loved to talk about the history of his wifes feet…. Yea makes you wonder
This generation doesn’t wanna hear history coach but nice work and thanks for not changing in 45+ years in the NFL. This man never let fame and money get in the way of the game of football. GOAT!!!!
My favorite part was when Tom Cruise took Belichick to Vegas to count cards
Belichick is a great historian of the NFL but really great historians include the social and cultural implications in their analysis. None of the four great old-time Packers he mentions were black because the game, like all American sports, either banned or limited the participation of black athletes for much of its history. It struck me when reading this that Bill’s players are dominated by black athletes had to be cognizant of that fact.
We have our democracy at risk because the entrenched dominate culture feels it is being replaced and that insecurity is stoked by politicians for personal gain. The theory goes that inferior individuals, of different races and religions, are being given America. Hogwash. The NFL player is a great example of a meritocracy and it is dominated by black athletes. The coaching ranks are slowly accepting an increase in black coaches but ownership is the racial firewall.
Similar industries (music and entertainment) that promote true meritocracy see similar increases in the participation of minorities. It’s not incidental that a political party that pushes replacement theory promote form over substance figures like Clarence Thomas and Herschel Walker while the other promotes Barack Obama and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
I admire Bill, who has often speeks eloquently of the great black athletes, including his testament to Vince Wilfork this week and Jim Brown in the past. It’s time for Bill to explain why he turned own the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the risk to the democracy he loves.
Belichick would make a great color commentator.
Bill is a wealth of knowledge when you get on any football topic other than prying into Patriot information.
Packer fans, whether they like Bill or not, should love this excerpt.
He knows that he has to be nice to media now, because he is about to be exposed as a below average HC without Tom Brady.
I find it fascinating that its literally impossible in our society to have any real level of interest in any given subject without that interest being considered a pejorative and described thusly.
He nailed it. It is something unique and special. The atmosphere is tangible and worth it. I’m just thankful so many fans were able to see and experience Lambeau while it grew and evolved to present day. There was nothing like it during the Lombardi and Starr years. It’s all changed (for me) now that a purposely deceptive and privileged liar and an aw-shucks double-talking welfare cheat are in the Packer news everyday. I’d like to see Jordan Love under-center, starting now. Fade to black.
GOATS can be as geeky as they want. The guy’s got cred.
I can’t wait for this guy to get his own show when he is done coaching. I totally get the hate for him. But there is probably no one alive that who has the encyclopedic knowledge of football that Belichick does.
Bill clearly respects the Packers history and how this team helped shape what the NFL is today. 13 world championships is truly something for us all to admire.
Possibly the greatest historian of pro football alive. 99% or more of the players probably don’t know any of it, but nice that someone does. His dad obviously taught him about a lot of it that predates him.
Belichick is a must listen always he knows his football
Belichick is a must listen always he knows his football
He didn’t know that he was a product of Brady and he didn’t know it would be a disaster for Cam Newton.
This kind of football history talk is like gold. As a Philadelphian, I’ve been blessed to be able to hear Ray Didinger talk like this for years. He just retired so I’m going through withdrawal. In the Two Bills documentary, BB gets misty eyed about football history. It’s great viewing.
A lecture on football history from someone that knows so much about it will only be of value and interest to those that are truly interested in the game itself.
The rest will just get personally triggered at so much as even seeing Belichicks name and their interest will instead be on writing snarky comments. Many of the snarkers will not even have read the info on football history because the game itself it’s just not interesting to them.
Many of the snarkers will not even have read the info on football history because the game itself it’s just not interesting to them.
Exactly, how many of his believers know how hard it is to score 24+ in back to back playoff games, especially with the squad given by the garbage?
Tom Coughlin owns him…better coach….better man
The history of football cannot be told without a full chapter on the Green Bay Packers. I’m glad to see that the Cheater in Chief for the Patriots has an appreciation for the legacy in Green Bay because he has done precious little to preserve the integrity of the game himself.
As crappy as Belichicks drafting skills are his knowledge of the game is unmatched. I fear however that this may be one of the last seasons we see him as head coach before Kraft pulls the plug and starts a hard rebuild.
The only history todays players are interested in is what the contract numbers of players at their position was when they signed so they can get more.
There is no denying Belichick is the greatest coach of this era, and arguably of all-time.
I wonder if he has the patience for the booth/pregame shows? Probably not. But his takes would be fun to hear, if he went unfiltered.
I’d say that Gil Brandt would be right there with Belichick in terms of NFL history knowledge. And it would be interesting to hear Brandt’s viewpoint comparing Belichick and Tom Landry. From 1966 to 1985 with Landry and 2001 to 2018 with Belichick. Many similarities for those 2 time periods regarding those 2 coaches and their respective franchises.
Great read. I understand why fans in other cities dislike the Packers and their fans, but it’s an amazing thing they have remained and thrived. As a guy who grew up in the area, it’s been a source of great joy.
William Lee, why so rude when this is just Bill talking about football history? You always make it about yourself.
Nice history lesson. Lafleur is probably showing it to his players for motivation.
Bill is right, Hutson is the greatest receiver of all time. Changed the game. A century ahead of everyone else.
He has so much love & respect for the game. He’s not only one of the greatest coaches we’ve seen, but also one of the most interesting. When people can actually get him to talk, it can be riveting.
The GOAT head coach and it’s not close.
Belichick singlehandedly drove away the greatest quarterback of all time and drafted a number of busts, such as N’Keal Harry and Ryan Mallet. And he traded for Mohamed Sanu and refused to re-sign Danny Amendola. Bil isn’t the greatest coach ever. He’s not even close. He will retire with a losing record without Brady.
At least he’s enjoying his final go around. Steven Kraft is in charge now, and he’s seen enough of Little Bill. They’ll tell him he has to hire a GM and OC, and he’ll refuse and resign. Then they’ll pretend it was mutual.
He’s certainly not the first legendary player or coach to get caught up in the mystique of historic Lambeau Field, and he undoubtedly won’t be the last.
Enjoy the weekend, Bill.
There are few greater joys in life than listening to Belichick talk actual football (not the inane questions he has to answer at press conferences).
William Lee, why so rude when this is just Bill talking about football history? You always make it about yourself.
Tell me why he pushed OC job to Patricia if he invented the offense system Brady played in, and he developed Brady and other players for the system.
Bob Kraft doesn’t have a son named Steven Kraft. Mr. Kraft is still the owner.
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