Great insight into Bill Belichick’s approach to practice and his game plan heading into the Super Bowl.
Loved this part about how he approached practice. I think a lot of times we slow down practice too much late in the season to keep guys fresh, and it’s easy to lose the edge.
The biggest spectacle in American culture staged Belichick’s opus, but it began two weeks ago on a quiet field in Foxborough, Mass. In their first practice after the Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game, when other coaches might have rested players after an arduous, emotional game, Belichick put the Patriots in full pads and went full-bore. He added extra drills and additional practice periods. Mistakes were met with coaches demanding, “Do it again.” At the end, players toiled through an extra 12 sprints.
“It felt like we were running forever,” Slater said. “It was like, what are we doing here? We knew Bill meant business. We better mean business. We had to play a great opponent. I think it prepared us for what we needed to do.”
“It was a practice that let us know, ‘Hey, look: Just because we won the AFC championship, that don’t mean we’re done here,’” defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. said.
Patriots players knew to expect two weeks of intensive study. Belichick does not use a set system. He has a basic set of fundamental tenets, but he alters strategy weekly based on his opponent’s features and flaws.
“We switch every week,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said in the locker room after the game. “We don’t just do something because that’s what we do.”