Belichick was asked if he had any memories of his first NFL game as a head coach for the Cleveland Browns, and of course the coach hasn't forgotten a thing.
"Yeah, Iâd say nervous," Belichick said. "We were playing Dallas, so that was a problem. Itâs funny. I talked to [then Cowboys coach] Jimmy [Johnson] about that a couple years ago. We were down on his boat fishing â¦ Well, we werenât catching any fish, but we were fishing and we talked about that."
Belichick probably remembers the rest of the story more for the negative aspects than the positive.
"I knew we were in trouble because Dallas was good. They were real good and [Johnson] said, âYeah, I donât even think we did a scouting report on you guys. We were pretty concerned with that second game, not the first one.â He was right. Maybe it was 19-12; the score was competitive, but it really wasnât. They were a lot better than we were and he knew it, too."
The final score was a bit muddled in Belichick's mind (it was actually 26-14), but the coach with a 138-86 career record said he still gets butterflies before Week 1.
"Opening day, I think thatâs the toughest day of the year," Belichick said. "It really is because there are so many unknowns. We have new players. Youâre going up against a new team. … As important as the opponent is, itâs probably more important that your team just can do what they need to do, that they can operate efficiently and communicate and execute the plays that weâve got to execute. Yeah, weâre concerned about what theyâre doing, but if you donât do what youâre doing right then it wonât make any difference.
"I think everybodyâs got the butterflies on opening day; certainly, the coaches do. You get stress put on your team in [many] areas and you see how you can handle them."
So coach, got any superstitions?
In other words: story time is over. Time for some football.