FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The oldest son of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick settled into his chair Monday for his first official interview as the team’s new safeties coach, and soon enough, there would be humor.
Steve Belichick, who paid his dues from 2012 to 2015 as an entry-level coach with the team, was asked about the challenges of sharing the same last name with one of the greatest coaches of all time. He laughed under his breath before looking up at the crowd of 15 to 20 reporters around him.
“This is one of them,” he said of the intense media interest.
Elsewhere around the Patriots’ media workroom, other assistants were engaged in interviews, but few, if any, had drawn the overflowing crowd that Belichick did.
He took it all in stride, perhaps a bit nervous for his first official media responsibility as a Patriots coach, yet striking the right mix between humility and humor that had some reporters buzzing afterward about the next generation of Belichicks in the coaching ranks.
What has it been like working for Bill Belichick?
“Obviously, I love my dad, he’s my role model, my idol,” the 29-year-old Belichick said. “I want to be just like him and I have since I knew what an idol was. It’s rewarding for me to be able to see him more and learn from him more, because I’ve been away from him for high school and college.”
Donning a gray Rutgers lacrosse sweatshirt to support his alma mater leading into next weekend’s Big Ten tournament, Belichick playfully paid homage to the hoodie that his father has made famous.
“It’s a good piece of clothing. I think everyone should have a hooded sweatshirt in their closet,” he cracked.
Photo: Steve Belichick says his promotion to safeties coach "means everything to him." pic.twitter.com/rTGqjbfAxc— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) May 2, 2016
That led to laughter among reporters, as did Belichick’s response when asked if he has long-term goals to become a head coach one day: “I just hope to be here at the end of the day.”
But if there was one thing that stood out more than anything from Belichick’s 15 minutes answering questions from reporters, it was how seriously he takes his craft.
For example, when asked about what type of work he did the past four years as a low-level coach, he said simply, “My responsibilities were to help us win. If that was breaking down film, that was breaking down film; if that was throwing interceptions to defensive players to make them feel good, that’s what I do. I’m here to win.”
Belichick said he first remembers falling in love with football when he was 4. He had played at The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts, where he was a three-year starter at linebacker and fullback/tight end and also the team’s long-snapper (a skill he learned from his late grandfather). Belichick ultimately went on to Rutgers, where he played lacrosse for four seasons before walking on to the football team as a long-snapper in preparation for a career in coaching.
He explained that he has always liked being part of a team, which means “having to put your personal success on the back burner for the betterment of the team, all to get to one goal.”
Working 18 hours a day as an entry-level coaching assistant over the past four years certainly qualifies, and now that he’s been elevated to a position coach, Belichick said, “It means everything to me.”
That he’s working under his father makes it even more special.
“I followed every single thing that he’s done, and I’ve watched everything he’s done, and he’s the best that has ever done it -- he’s my idol, he’s my role model and he is my standard. So I just watch my dad,” he said.