Whistle blowers

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Since he first was hired as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers, Andy Reid kept meticulous notes.

Secured away in a three-ring binder, Reid was planning far ahead for what he hoped would be inevitable -- the day he would become the head man for an NFL team.

In the five seasons he has had the job with the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid often has thumbed through the binder.

But until now, as he prepares for the meeting Sunday with the New England Patriots, he has resisted the temptation to peak at the section marked Super Bowl.

Reid admits the retrospective has come in handy, helping to recall how the Packers coaching staff dealt with practices, the crush of media and the enormity of the event.

"It has worked for me," said Reid, who was quarterbacks coach under Mike Holmgren when the Packers went to the big show in 1996 and '97. "It has been good to go back and look at things as a reference."

Reid will need all the tricks he can muster when he faces the man widely regarded as the modern-day genius of his profession in Super Bowl XXXIX.

On the opposite sideline at Alltell Stadium, likely decked out in a hoody, will be Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

They are men of contrasting styles and images but of similar success in terms of the dominant records their teams have had over the past four seasons.

Belichick is the rumpled-looking mad professor, a defensive specialist whose 9-1 record matches the late Vince Lombardi for the NFL's best post-season winning percentage.

Reid is the rolly-polly leader of the Eagles who majors in offence and is making his first Bowl trip as a head coach.

Consider as well that since the 2001 season, Belichick has an overall record of 56-16 to Reid's 54-19.

The two extra wins for the Pats' coach have been in Super Bowls XXXVII and XXXVI. The extra losses for Reid have been in three successive NFC Championship games prior to this season.

Besides sniffing out personnel to fit his system, Belichick is renowned for finding his opponent's weakness and hammering it.

"He is the master when it comes to dissecting a team," Pats linebacker Ted Johnson said. "He can break it down to its simplest form, come in and say 'if you do these two or three things you can win.'

"And he's right many more times than he's wrong."

Despite his record -- and perhaps specifically because of those failures in NFC Championship games -- Reid doesn't have such a lofty reputation.

In fact, his quarterback Donovan McNabb recalls the initial skepticism which greeted Reid when he was hired by the Eagles in 1999. His image and lack of profile had the cynical fans of Philly ready to pounce on him from the start.

"We all know what happened -- Andy got the job and people said they should have gone for a bigger name or whatever," McNabb said yesterday. "Then he drafted me and people kind of looked at it as a double negative."

It's been all positive since after Reid's first season, a 5-11 learning process. The Eagles have won at least 11 games in every campaign since, including going 13-3 this year.

His notes may not deal with it, but Reid not need worry about his team being a seven-point underdog, either. The Rams were favoured by 14 over the Pats when Belichick made his first Bowl appearance as a head coach.

And when the confetti had settled three years ago, the dogs had their day in a 20-17 win.

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BILL BELICHICK

PERSONAL

Born April 16, 1952 in Nashville and raised in Annapolis, Md. ... Belichick and his wife, Debby, have three children ... His father, Steve, played fullback for the Detroit Lions in 1941 and coached for 33 years at the Naval Academy.

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PEDIGREE

Learned much of his philosophy as defensive co-ordinator for the New York Giants under Bill Parcells. Team won Super Bowls in 1986 and 1990.

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DID YOU KNOW?

"You're missing the guy who went on tour with Bon Jovi over to Europe even though he can't sing or dance very well. This guy's got more personality than any of you know, he's just not going to let you see it."

-- New England offensive co-ordinator, Charlie Weis

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PUBLISHED WORKS

Belichick's defensive game plan from the Giants Super Bowl XXV victory over the Buffalo Bills is on permanent display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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ATTIRE

Favours the rumpled hoody look that makes him look more like a fan than a Super Bowl winning coach.

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FREE TIME

Hangs with former NBA star Charles Barkley and rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

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BY THE BYE

In his time with the Patriots, Belichick is 8-2 after a bye including last year's Super Bowl win over Carolina.

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BELICHICK BY THE NUMBERS

YEAR, TEAM W L T PCT

1991 Cleveland 6 10 0 .375

1992 Cleveland 7 9 0 .438

1993 Cleveland 7 9 0 .438

1994 Cleveland 11 5 0 .688

1995 Cleveland 5 11 0 .313

2000 New England 5 11 0 .313

2001 New England 11 5 0 .688

2002 New England 9 7 0 .563

2003 New England 14 2 0 .875

2004 New England 14 2 0 .875

Cleveland Total 36 44 0 .450

New England Total 53 27 0 .663

Overall Total 89 71 0 .556

PLAYOFFS

YEAR, TEAM W L PCT

1994 Cleveland 1 1 .500

2001 New England 3 0 1.000

2003 New England 3 0 1.000

2004 New England 2 0 1.000

Total 9 1 .900

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ANDY REID

PERSONAL

Born in Los Angeles on March 19, 1958 ... Attended and played football at BYU ... Reid and his wife Tammy have five children.

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PEDIGREE

Was an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers from 1992-98 where he learned the intricacies of the West Coast offence under Mike Holmgren. "I had a hard time believing anyone did it better than him," Reid said of Holmgren.

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DID YOU KNOW?

"He's a guy that loves reading books, smelling roses, walking in the park, making milkshakes and rootbeer floats ... No, he's just a normal guy that loves what he does."

-- Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (while laughing)

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PUBLISHED WORKS

Kept notes from all of his previous coaching experience in a three-ring binder.

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ATTIRE

Threatened to wear tights if Terrell Owens reached 15 touchdowns. Doesn't he think the shorts are bad enough?

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FREE TIME

An amateur carpenter, he builds furniture, skills learned from his father who worked on backdrops on movie sets in his native Los Angeles.

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BY THE BYE

Reid's team has never lost when it has had more than a week to prepare, sporting a perfect 9-0 record.

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REID BY THE NUMBERS

YEAR, TEAM W L T PCT

1999 Philadelphia 5 11 0 .313

2000 Philadelphia 11 5 0 .688

2001 Philadelphia 11 5 0 .688

2002 Philadelphia 12 4 0 .750

2003 Philadelphia 12 4 0 .750

2004 Philadelphia 13 3 0 .813

Total 64 32 0 .667

PLAYOFFS

YEAR, TEAM W L PCT

2000 Philadelphia 1 1 .500

2001 Philadelphia 2 1 .667

2002 Philadelphia 1 1 .500

2003 Philadelphia 1 1 .500

2004 Philadelphia 2 0 1.000

Total 7 4 .636


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