New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s customary succinct and monotone public demeanor was pronounced Tuesday as reporters pressed him on his future plans with the franchise.
It has been conjectured that the 65-year-old Belichick’s tenure with the Patriots may come to an end soon after the conclusion of this season, as word of an unconfirmed divide placing him on one side of the chasm and NFL all-time great quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft on the other may be the catalyst for his departure.
Yet Belichick’s legendary laser-like focus and attention to detail is squarely on the Philadelphia Eagles as he hunts his sixth Super Bowl title in eight appearances in his 18 years as the Patriots’ head coach.
“Yeah, right now my focus is on Sunday against the Eagles, and that’s my window right now,” Belichick said from Minneapolis, where Super Bowl LII (52) will be held this Sunday (6:30 p.m.).at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Belichick continued, “Just trying to do the best job I can for our team the next few days and be at our best on Sunday afternoon against the Eagles…That’s what I’m thinking about.”
Brady is also very much locked in. At age 40, he is viewed by many as the greatest QB to ever play. But even with five Super Bowl titles on his resume, the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft remains extraordinarily obsessed with winning.
“I love the almost angry focus that he brings to every single game,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said of Brady Monday at the Super Bowl Opening Night event. “It reminds me of some athletes I have great respect for, like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, guys like that.”
Lurie’s Eagles will face a monumental challenge trying to successfully hack the code that Belichick has designed and that Brady and his teammates execute to near perfection. Only the New York Giants, with wins over the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII (42) and XLVI (46), have been able to infect seemingly impenetrable system software.
The Patriots are clearly beatable. They were 13-3 in the regular season, the same record as the Eagles. Player for player, the Eagles may have a more talented roster. The key to defeating the Patriots is getting consistent pressure on Brady up the middle, and somehow containing tight end Rob Gronkowski, who began this week still in the NFL’s concussion protocol after sustaining a hard blow to his head during the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Eagles are a highly capable team and showed it by crushing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship Game. They will prove to be a worthy opponent Sunday but at the end, most celebrated head coach-quarterback tandem in the sport’s history will add one more Super Bowl title to their unmatched legacy.