Nearly 35 years ago is when Bill Belichick took his first job in the NFL, which was an assistant position with the Baltimore Colts in 1975. Fast forward to now and Belichick has garnered eight championships; two as a defensive coordinator for the Giants and six as the head coach for the New England Patriots.
You don't get that kind of resume by going through the motions and moving your way up just based on the number of years you've been coaching in the league. Belichick did it by absorbing as much info as he could early on and then put his own spin on the info when it was his turn to be a leader of men.
ESPN wrote a story in which they asked each NFL head coach what they had learned from their first gig in the NFL. Here is what Belichick had to say from his experience with the Colts.
"A lot of X's and O's, but it really wasn't the X's and O's. It was a lot more about just being a professional coach -- preparation, work ethic, dependability, what goes into having a good football team," Belichick told ESPN's Mike Reiss. "We were 1-4 and won our next nine straight. It was a young team that got off to a slow start, but we gained our confidence, and it taught me a great lesson in football of just keep working, keep fighting, just one day at a time. Don't worry about the record at the end of the year. Just have a good day, have another good day, win this week, and then move on to the next week. That's what we did in 1975.
"They were 2-12 the year before. They were terrible. But Ted [Marchibroda] gave the team great confidence, great leadership. Ted is one of the most positive people I've ever been around, always confident. Even when it was fourth-and-17, he was always sure we were going to make the play or do what we need to do. He was such a great person for me. I lived with Ted. We stayed in the same hotel, drove him to work every day, drove him home every day. We had our staff meetings in the car. We ate breakfast together. He was such a mentor."
It seems that Belichick's famous mantra after a loss, "We're on to..." was taken from his days with Baltimore. He learned the importance of moving on and trying to string together good days of practice and a positive attitude. Though the exact verbiage he uses nowadays may have not been from back then, Belichick was smart enough to put his own spin on it and make it just as effective today.
That mantra has translated to Belichick's tenure in New England so the team can keep their mind focused on the next game. It also prevents them from losing their humble mindset. Winning as much as New England does could make the players and coaches complacent, but Belichick doesn't allow that to happen thanks to something he learned over 30 years ago from Ted Marchibroda and the Colts coaching staff.