“This franchise that we’re going against is the Microsoft of our industry, what they’ve done,” Vitt said. “Bill Belichick is the coach of my era. He’s the Don Shula, the Bill Walsh of my era.”
Vitt was also appreciative of the work the two teams got in together during training camp. They’ll square off on the gridiron in preseason action Thursday night, but there’s no shortage of respect among the two teams, who also practiced together before the Saints’ 2010 Super Bowl-winning season.
“I think there’s a lot of trust involved,” Vitt said. “We know what we want to get out of each day. The biggest thing is the players trust one another — they know we can work tempo, angles to the ball, without beating each other up. Whenever you have that trust between two teams, I think it makes it a lot more compatible.”
Belichick feels the same way, expressing a great deal of respect for Vitt, Saints owner Tom Benson and suspended head coach Sean Payton. Belichick is also confident the three days working together — two joint practices and Thursday’s preseason game — will prove to be beneficial.
“We played against them two years ago, practiced against them two years ago in their championship season so there isn’t any team really that we have more respect for than the Saints, from top to bottom,” Belichick said. “They do a great job all the way around. Instead of playing just one game against a team like this, we really get three good days of work against them to help us get better.”
The Saints have certainly had a tumultuous offseason. But although the two teams aren’t scheduled to play each other this regular season, perhaps it isn’t unrealistic to think they’ll end up squaring off the first Sunday in February. The stakes for that contest would obviously be much higher.