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Familiar faces with unfamiliar foe

Bill Belichick's direct ties to the Chiefs include former Patriots VP Scott Pioli, right, along with KC coach Todd Haley, left. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said his team is unfamiliar with the Chiefs players. That's true. As for the guys responsible for picking and coaching the players, that's a whole different story:

Asked if he sees [Scott] Pioli's brushstrokes in the way these Chiefs have been built, Belichick took a more general approach and noted the numerous staff connections between the two teams and the inherent similarities.

"[Chiefs head coach] Todd Haley, I coached with him at the Jets and many of the other people that are on that staff I've worked with before, whether it be [defensive coordinator] Romeo [Crennel], [defensive-line coach] Anthony Pleasant on the defensive side of the ball and [defensive quality control] Otis [Smith] obviously or [assistant head coach] Maurice [Carthon], [offensive quality control] Richie Anderson, [offensive coordinator] Bill Muir on the offensive side of the ball along with Todd Haley [and] Scott," said Belichick.

Get lost there? A quick refresher:

Crennel won three Super Bowls in four seasons as defensive coordinator with the Patriots from 2001 to 2004; Pleasant played on the defensive line for the Patriots in 2001-03 (10 sacks in 37 games); Smith played cornerback for the Patriots in 1996 and again in 2000-2002 (10 interceptions total), then joined New England on a coaching fellowship in 2006; Carthon coached the Patriots' running backs from 1994-96; Anderson played with the Jets from 1993-2002; Muir was the offensive-line coach from 1982-84.

And Belichick didn't even mention Chiefs assistant general manager Joel Collier (who coached the Patriots secondary from 2005-07) or Chiefs regional scout Jim Nagy (who spent seven years in the Patriots personnel department from 2002-08). What's more, Chiefs director of player development Katie Douglass spent five years in New England, while Chiefs football operations assistant Tom Caracciollo has a brother, Matt, who is the Patriots director of football operations.

So, yes, other than that, these teams hardly know each other.

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