Five turnovers, 49 points — 21 coming in a matter of just 52 seconds — and a 30-point rout of the AFC East-rival Jets should give Bill Belichick enough to be thankful for this holiday season. But getting a landmark victory, especially the way it was won, makes it just that much sweeter.
Belichick won his 200th career game — regular season and postseason combined — on Thursday night, a milestone that only nine other coaches have ever accomplished. The win gives Belichick 183 career regular season victories, which ranks 10th all time. That has him ahead of his mentor, Bill Parcells, and just three wins behind legendary head coach Chuck Knox, who ranks ninth on the all-time list.
While Belichick isn’t usually very reactive to such records, the head coach did seem honored by the achievement during his postgame news conference on Thursday night.
“It’s been a privilege and a great opportunity to coach the players that won those games,” a humbled Belichick said of the landmark win.
Already considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, Belichick has three Super Bowl titles (one behind former Steelers head coach Chuck Noll) and 17 playoff victories (which ranks him third on the all-time list behind only Noll and Don Shula).
Although he’s certainly earned much of the praise and admiration on his own, Belichick wouldn’t take any of the credit for his newest accomplishment. Instead, he credited his current and former players with making the feat possible.
“I never made a block, didn’t make a tackle, didn’t throw a pass, didn’t kick a ball, the players won them,” Belichick said. “It’s an honor to coach the group of players that go out there and make the plays to win those games and that’s what happened today. The players went out there and made the plays and they deserved to win.”
Reflecting even further on what the win means to the Patriots, specifically, Belichick was sure to mention his eager owner and the organization that’s helped him realize so much success.
“It’s a privilege to coach this team for Mr. [Robert] Kraft, the Kraft family, the Patriots organization, and the players that are on it,” Belichick added. “It’s nice, but it’s really more of a reflection of what the players have done.”
Belichick may never reach the record 347-career win plateau that Shula set over a 33-year career. But in the end, Belichick will be just as highly regarded, and 200 wins just adds to his prestige.