Legend in the making

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

PHOENIX -- There is no truth to the rumour that by the time they present the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the New England Patriots here Sunday evening it will have been renamed the Bill Belichick Trophy.

If the New England Patriots run the table with a 19-0 season and win a fourth Super Bowl title so far this decade, you could make the case that their head coach will have no peer in the history of NFL football coaching other than the legendary Green Bay Packers coach who won five NFL championships in nine seasons, the last two being Super Bowls I & II.

15-3 PLAYOFF RECORD

Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in a four-year run. He has a 15-3 playoff record, which is better than anybody's other than Lombardi's.

Yet there are no famous Bill Belichick inspirational sayings like the dozens Lombardi produced which people have framed in dressing rooms and places of work around the world. Or at least, I never heard of one.

Famous Bill Belichick sayings?

"Not in public. Not to the media at least," laughed a Boston writer when I inquired just to make sure about that.

Lombardi gave the world so many.

"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

"Winners never quit and winners never win."

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."

"Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser."

"Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect."

"If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you'll be fired with enthusiasm."

"Football isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport - dancing is a contact sport."

The perception of Belichick is that of a personality-challenged, monotone man who if he's accomplished at saying anything, it's nothing.

Ask Tedy Bruschi, the 12-year Patriots linebacker, if the perception of Belichick surprises him, and he laughs.

"No. Haven't you seen him in his press conferences?"

There was an unconfirmed report of Belichick smiling at one of his press conferences this year, however. Coulda been gas.

"That smirk he was giving? Was that a smile?" asked linebacker Mike Vrabel.

"What you see isn't too far from what we get. He's not trying to make friends. He's not trying to be somebody's buddy. We have plenty of those.

"He's trying to be the best coach he can be."

But it was true. Belichick actually had a moment or two when he appeared to be enjoying himself on media day where "reporters" show up in wedding dresses and ask players if they'd marry them. But Patriot players refused to buy into the concept that he was loosening up.

"Today is Tuesday and it's media day," said safety Rodney Harrison then. "Each day he becomes a little more ticked off and he'll find reasons to yell and scream at us. By Friday, I guarantee, he won't be as nice."

But he swears by him.

"What makes him, to me, is he is so bent on attention to detail. He focuses on every aspect of the game - defence, offence, special teams. He knows each aspect. He knows each player's responsibilities, which is pretty amazing, because as a head coach he has so many responsibilities and for Bill to know what everyone is doing at every single moment is amazing."

Wide receiver Donte Stallworth put it another way.

"The number one thing with Bill is that he holds everyone to a high standard and he expects everyone to do their job and not worry about anyone else's job. Everyone has taken heed to that and guys understand that he's been in the big games and won the big games and if you follow his lead, he's usually never wrong."

CHEATING A BLEMISH

Coming into this Super Bowl, the only blemish on Belichick and the Patriots record is being fined $500,000 by commissioner Roger Goodell for the coach's part in Spygate, the illegal videotaping of a New York Jets practice.

But maybe that comes under the heading of "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying hard enough."

And, no, it wasn't Lombardi who said that.


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