Patriots Rally To Congratulate Bill Belichick Following Milestone Win

'I think that it is only fitting that we are here in Cleveland, the city that ran him out'


Oct 16, 2022

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made history Sunday, opening up an opportunity for the players on New England’s roster to sing his praises.

Belichick moved into a tie for second place on the NFL all-time wins list among head coaches Sunday after New England earned a Week 6 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The win was Belichick’s 324th to tie Chicago Bears legend George Halas, bringing him within 23 of the all-time record set by famed Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.

Never one to reflect on personal accomplishments, the 70-year-old deflected the praise onto his players postgame.

“You can’t win games in this league without good players. I’m very fortunate to have coached a lot of great players and have had a lot of great coaches on my staff through the years,” Belichick said postgame, per transcript provided by the Browns. “A lot of those guys have gone on to have tremendous careers and players obviously — many of them are Patriots Hall of Fame or NFL Hall of Fame, or are going to be. Winning games in this league is about having good players and I’m very fortunate to have a lot of them. I had them in New York. I had them in Cleveland. I have them here.”

Though he didn’t give much in terms of celebration, the eight-time Super Bowl champion received plenty of nice words from his players.

“That is just a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, a lot of execution and a lot of attention to detail that he bestows on his players,” Matthew Judon said postgame, per Browns transcripts. “We just go out there and execute. For him to tie that record and hopefully overcome it, that is really really nice.”

Some Patriots newcomers made sure to point out the impact he made on their careers before they had ever been coached by the future Hall of Famer.

“I do not know if everybody knew about it, but I knew about it. I gave coach a high-five and a hug and told him congratulations. It is big. He is a part of history and he deserves it,” Jalen Mills said postgame. “The reason why I am in a Patriots uniform and signed here. To be coached by one of the best to ever do it, learning every game from him — I think that is the biggest thing.”

“When I go back to free agency last year, and when I knew I had an opportunity to become a Patriot, it was a no brainer,” Jonnu Smith said. “Not just because of a historical franchise and all the wins, but Coach Belichick is such a football mind, kind of like a football maniac. I knew I was going to learn the game from a different set of eyes. To take that advantage as a football player, competitor, and student of the game meant a lot to me. He is a great person, and also gives us presentations on the history of the game and I appreciate that.”

Matthew Slater, who has contributed to more of Belichick’s wins than almost anyone, took a more aimed approach in his praise.

“We did not talk about it because he tied. Hopefully we get a chance to celebrate him winning second place by himself sooner than later,” Slater said. “Unbelievable what he has done. I think that it is only fitting that we are here in Cleveland, the city that ran him out. He is proving all these years later that he is the best.”

Belichick will have a chance to move into sole-possession of second place on the list when the Patriots host the Bears at Gillette Stadium on Monday, Oct. 24.

Thumbnail photo via Scott Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images
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