We saw it with Spygate, when the Patriots went 16-0 and advanced to the Super Bowl, and we’re seeing it with Deflategate, as the Patriots have started 6-0 and are arguably the best team in the NFL.
This is not surprising. When there’s no controversy, Bill Belichick wins. When there is controversy, Bill Belichick wins. But how? How does he do it?
To find out, CBS Sports Radio enlisted the help of Carl Banks, who played for Belichick and has gotten to know him quite well over the years.
So, Carl, how does Belichick keep winning in the face of controversy?
“What controversy? Nothing got inside their building,” the former linebacker and two-time Super Bowl champion joked on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think with Bill, he’s the guy who makes an assessment, an inventory of what the situation is. They resolve it, and he compartmentalizes it, and then he gets himself, and then his team, focused on the task at hand. They always assess what the upside is, what the downside is (and ask) ‘How do we prepare for it?’ But there won’t be panic.”
When Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season, people wondered if the Patriots would even make the playoffs. Belichick, however, was as calm and as steady as ever, preparing Jimmy Garoppolo to be the opening-day starter. When Brady’s suspension was negated, Belichick was as calm and as steady as ever, preparing for opening day as if nothing happened.
“I’ve been around him my professional career 25 years now,” Banks said. “I can tell you how he deals with issue like this. He will take a look at it, he’ll get all the facts and they just prepare accordingly. If it’s one guy or if it’s 20 guys, he’s going to deal with those 20 guys. They’re going to have a conversation. Or if it’s the one guy – which, it happened to be his quarterback – he’ll assess it. And then from that point, (he’ll say), ‘This is what I need you to do. This is what we’re going to do.’ And then he goes in and tells his team, ‘This is what we’re doing. We got to deal with this. That’s not going to impact the 52 other guys in this room. This is what we need you to do, and we’re going to put a plan together and go for it.’”
So far, Belichick’s plan is working, as usual.
The Patriots play three of their next four games at home, starting Thursday against Miami at 8:25 p.m. ET.