Bill Belichick is full of surprises and notorious for making moves that leave everyone scratching their heads. In completely related news, he is also the best coach and one of the best personnel men in the league. Here are his moves that were most shocking in the moment.
7. Trading Jamie Collins
Sometimes it seems like Belichick makes moves just to fuck with people. Just to go against the grain. This felt like one of those moves, although in reality there were behind-the-scenes factors that contributed to the decision to trade Collins. Still, it came out of nowhere, and fans weren’t ever really able to put together a rationale that made sense. If they weren’t already so used to Belichick’s unexpected moves, this one would have ranked higher.
6. Trading Logan Mankins
This was simple: Mankins was making a lot of money. Belichick didn’t think he was worth it. He asked the former calf-roping champion from California to take a pay cut. Mankins played the pride card and refused. Next thing you know, his ass is on a plane to Tampa. Done and done. Except the fans didn’t know about any of this, and it came as a shock when they jettisoned him just two weeks before the 2015 season started, despite needing offensive line help. Shockingly, it turns out that Belichick was right. Mankins joined a rebuilding team in a strange city and the Patriots went out and won the Super Bowl without him.
5. Trading Richard Seymour
By 2009 Belichick had longed established himself as a smashingly successful secretive Svengali at this point. “In Bill We Trust” bumper stickers were a hot commodity. However, Seymour was a legitimate star in his prime and may have been the second best player on the team. Everyone who heard this news did a double-take. Belichick didn’t have any pressing reason to get rid of him, but he was able to mind-meld a late-stage (and declining) Al Davis into coughing up a #1 pick (this is when the Raiders were still bad). The Raiders actually ended up being decent the next year, but the Patriots ended up with Nate Solder at #17 and he is still their starting left tackle.
4. Cutting Bernie Kosar
Back in the early 90’s when Belichick was still wearing shirts with buttons, he shocked one of the most loyal fan bases in sports by cutting loose local legend Bernie Kosar in the middle of the 1993 season. One minute he was battling for a job with Vinny Testaverde, the next he was watching his locker get cleaned out. Belichick coldly chalked it up to “diminishing skills” like some disengaged sociopath, and his relationship with Browns fans was never the same…
3. Resigning as the Jets Coach after just 24 hours
Jets fans would have this #1. They thought they were getting a continuation of the Bill Parcells era with the battlefield promotion of his first mate Belichick in 2000. Instead, they were rudely introduced to the hoodie’s iconoclastic weirdness in one of the most bizarre press conferences ever. At one point, Jets President Steve Gutman openly questioned Belichick’s mental health. Then the capper was Belichick officially quitting by writing “I resign as HC of NYJ” on a napkin. If only Twitter had existed then.
2. Cutting Lawyer Milloy
Patriots fans and players already knew Bill Belichick marched to his own drummer thanks to his willingness to bench Drew Bledsoe for Tom Brady, but this is the move that really let them know that the hooded genius does NOT GIVE A FUCK. Milloy was an emotional leader and fan favorite who had been an integral part of New England’s Super Bowl team in 2001. Just five days before the start of the 2003 season, Belichick dropped a hammer on his head and sent him packing like some undrafted Free Agent. The media (see Tom Jackson above) and fan base were not behind Belichick at the time and the move was very unpopular. The team then proceeded to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
1. Dressing Up as a Pirate for Halloween
The photo speaks for itself…