What Does America Really Think of Bill Belichick?

A survey recently asked Americans who they think is the greatest coach of all time

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sidelines. A new survey looking at America's favorite sports coaches puts Belichick at the top.
Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sidelines.
Maddie Malhotra/Getty

Born in Brooklyn in 1913, Vincent Thomas Lombardi went on to become a legendary professional football coach who won five titles with the Green Bay Packers, including Super Bowls I and II. With a career record of 96-34-6 (.738) in the regular season to go along with a 9-1 (.900) record in the postseason, Lombardi never finished a season below .500.

Bill Belichick, who has coached the Patriots for 22 seasons following five seasons with the Browns and won six Super Bowls in New England, has a career record of 290-143 (.670) in the regular season and 31-13 (.705) in the playoffs, but had Tom Brady for the bulk of his coaching career and has finished above .500 just three times in his nine seasons without No. 12 as his starting quarterback.

Both coaches are great. But are they equal? America seems to think so based on the results of a recent Morning Consult survey.

For the survey, respondents were asked to write in whom they considered to be the greatest sports coach of all time. When the results came back, Americans had Lombardi and Belichick tied at the top, each with 10% of the vote. Following Lombardi and Belichick on the list were NBA coach Phil Jackson and NFL legend John Madden at 7%, then John Wooden (college basketball, 4%), Tom Landry (NFL, 3%), Nick Saban (college football, 3%), Mike Krzyzewski (college basketball, 3%), Mike Ditka (NFL, 3%), Tony Dungy (NFL, 2%) and Gregg Popovich (NBA, 2%). Every name in the top 15 is either a basketball or football coach.

Of all the names on the list, Popovich likely should have come in a bit higher as his career statistics as a coach — 1,344-701 (.657) in the regular season and 170-114 (.590) in the playoffs with five NBA titles in 26 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs — compare pretty favorably with Lombardi and Belichick.

Interestingly enough, another name on the list, Krzyzewski, was recently asked about the latter by longtime football scribe Peter King.

“I really admire him and like him,” Coach K told King. “Because really it’s not about him, it’s about [the players]. There’s nobody who’s built a better culture in pro sports than him. Right? Pro football’s a big business, man. There can be a lot of selfishness. He’s been able to manage all that. Culture should not be assumed. It needs Miracle-Gro every year, and he’s been able to keep that culture going. There’s a Patriot Way. I totally admire that.”

America feels the same way, apparently. It’s worth noting that if it wasn’t for Brady, that might not be the case.

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