The Patriots coach gave the keynote address at a conference on Thursday morning entitled “Sports Medicine and the NFL: The Playbook for 2013” at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston. Belichick touched on a variety of relevant topics during his talk, including some unique insight into the Patriots’ team-building philosophy, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.
“I believe to have a championship team you want to have a championship team in every area, whether that’s your starting quarterback, your strength coach, your medical staff, your area scouts, whatever it happens to be,” Belichick said during his near 40-minute address. “We’re trying to work at a championship level of performance in every one of those areas.”
But building a championship team doesn’t just happen organically. It has to be based on core values and principles, of which Belichick holds in high regard.
Of all the qualities that Belichick discussed during the speech, two really stood out. The first being a player’s passion for the game.
“The big thing I’d say we look for, which would try to differentiate the players for us, are players with passion; guys that really love football,” Belichick said. “As we all know from our jobs, if you love what you’re doing you don’t feel like you’re working.
“As it relates to people, it’s trying to bring people into the organization that share a similar philosophical outlook to the game, and have a passion for the game, that we in the organization have. That’s really where it starts.”
That search for passionate players matches up well with many of the Patriots’ personnel decisions over the years, going as far back as Tom Brady and as recently as this year’s NFL draft. But passion isn’t the only requirement on the team’s radar. The other major area on Belichick’s check list was a player’s accountability.
“The only way for us to get better is to do our own R & D [research and development],” Belichick said. “I think along with that comes a certain amount of humility, being able to take constructive criticism — we certainly have all made a lot of mistakes; I’ve made more than my share and so has everybody else. In order for us to improve and get better and move forward, we’ve all got to be able to stand up and say ‘Hey, I screwed that up’ or ‘I didn’t do a good job here, how can we correct the problem and get it right the next time?’”
Those intrinsic qualities definitely play a role in building a continuous winner like the Patriots over the past decade, but Belichick knows that in the end it all still comes down to putting it all together out on the field.
“And ultimately for us it all comes down to performance,” Belichick added. “We get one opportunity a week, three hours a week, to put that whole week of preparation and game-planning and therapy and conditioning, it all shows up in that one three-hour period. That really heightens how important every single play and everything we do — we could have great practices on Wednesday and Thursday but nobody really cares; the only thing that matters is how you play on Sundays.”
Though it may come as a shock to many, Belichick doesn’t have some easy do-it-yourself recipe for success. But if you really dig deep into some of the core qualities there are some obvious trends, and on Thursday he gave even the briefest glimpse into the mind of the hooded genius.