The Long Friendship Between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban

Football's most prolific friendship began at family dinner in 1982.

Sports Illustrated takes us through the decades-long friendship between football’s greatest coaches, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Before the championships, before they were divisional rivals in New England and Miami, they were fans of each other, brought together by Bill’s father, Steve. They first met at the elder Belichick’s house for dinner, when Bill was working for the Giants and Nick was a new colleague of Steve’s at Navy. In the late 1980s, when Belichick was the Giants’ defensive coordinator and Saban the Oilers’ defensive backs coach, they met secretly in upstate New York, talking defenses over a dinner for which they could’ve been fired had their superiors known. The bond formed that night forged a mutual respect and affection that remains today, 11 combined championships later.

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