<
>

Super Bowl XLIX through Bill Belichick's eyes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cleaning out another overflowing Super Bowl XLIX notebook from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick's point of view:

1. Belichick admitted the NFL's investigation into underinflated footballs affected preparations for the game as his attention was directed elsewhere at times. "We got off to a little bit of a slow start last week," he relayed. "But Matt Patricia and his defensive staff, Josh McDaniels and the offensive staff, Scott O'Brien [and] special teams, those guys did a great job of putting the game plan together, preparing for this game for our team while I was doing some other things. I was able to catch up. I couldn't have done it without those guys, for sure. I just can't say enough about the job that our coaching staff did, as well as the players."

2. What was Belichick doing the morning of the game? Still watching film of the Seahawks, of course. Specifically, he said he was watching Seattle's 27-24 overtime win against the Buccaneers from last season. The Seahawks had trailed 21-0 in that game before roaring back. This is another reminder to the level of detail that coaches take when preparing for a game.

3. Belichick was pretty witty after the game when asked if he's ever seen a catch like the 33-yarder that Jermaine Kearse made on his back. "Yeah," he responded. "I've seen two of them." Of course, he was referring to David Tyree's on-his-helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.

4. The response when asked if controversy relating to the NFL's investigation makes the win sweeter: "I think our team deserved to win. I don't know what more we need to do. This team deserves to be champions and that's why they're up here."

5. Belichick's opening remarks concluded with a personal touch. "The last time I won and got Gatorade [over the head], my dad was here. I was certainly thinking about him tonight, and I'm sure he was watching. I hope my mom is watching too. So, 'Hi, Mom.'"

6. He repeated something he said in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, noting that halftime of the loss to Kansas City on Sept. 29 was the season's turning point. "We weren't close to winning," he said, "but the fight and competitiveness was there. That gave me a lot of confidence going into the next week's game."

7. Asked about undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler, Belichick reflected on how he first came to the team. "He was a rookie tryout guy. We had already had our draft. We had already signed our free agents after the draft [so] he was part of what we like to call, 'the few, the proud, the free.' He came in and did a great job in that rookie minicamp [and] we created a roster spot by juggling some other guys around, signed him, and he had a good training camp. That's a big jump from West Alabama to the NFL, but Malcolm competes hard."

8. There was no interest in speaking on what he accomplished on a personal basis, such as tying legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll with four Super Bowl victories as a head coach. "This isn't about me right now," Belichick said. "It's about our football team, these guys, and what we've accomplished as a group that a lot of people never thought we had a chance to accomplish." Belichick's opening statement also referred to the team being "counted out many times through the course of the year by a lot of people."

9. With two timeouts left prior to the second-and-goal play from the 1 that Butler intercepted, Belichick said he was holding them for if the Seahawks ran the ball on the play and the Patriots stopped them.

10. Asked about the Patriots' two long drives in the fourth quarter, Belichick said, "I've been in a few of these games and we've been on the other side of it. It's just hard to rush the passer for four quarters in a game like this. You just expend so much energy. Our offensive line did a great job, but I think as the game wore on, that probably helped neutralize the pass rush a little bit."

11. This will go down as one of Belichick's favorite Patriots clubs. "This is a great team," he said. "A great group of competitors who never gave in, never lost their will, mentally and physically as tough of a group as I've been around, and I've been around some. These guys are really special."