Lack of buzz about Bill Belichick hire 20 years ago comical in hindsight

What is the key to Belichick's success? (1:13)

Ryan Clark, Jack Del Rio and Dianna Russini break down why Bill Belichick has been so successful as the Patriots' coach. (1:13)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick was officially hired and introduced as New England Patriots coach on Jan. 27, 2000, and the news barely made the front page of the next day's Boston Globe.

President Bill Clinton had delivered his final State of the Union address the night before, and his picture was prominent on Page 1. There was a story about Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, who was vying with Bill Bradley for the Democratic nomination.

The biggest story in the Globe focused on Boston hospitals and deferred payments from insurance companies. An obituary for Edward J. Logue, who in the 1960s served as director of Boston's redevelopment authority, was also above the fold.

Tucked at the bottom of the page was a story by the late, great Will McDonough with a headline: Patriots make peace and get their man.

That was in reference to the Patriots' trade with Bill Parcells and the New York Jets that ended three weeks of wrangling between the franchises, a stretch of time sparked by Belichick's unforgettable resignation as "HC of the NYJ."

Perhaps it was fatigue from the drawn-out process of hiring him, or the lack of buzz he created as a candidate, but scanning the story placement and headlines from that day serves up a stunning reminder of how remarkable and unexpected what unfolded over the next 20 years has been.

Yes, Belichick's introduction received plenty of coverage, most of it starting on Page 71 of the 100-page Globe. Settling the Bills screamed the headline across Page 71.

On Page 85, a story that gauged fan reaction to the hire was modest. Some were expecting a bigger name like Marty Schottenheimer, or a package deal of Dom Capers as coach and Tom Donahoe as general manager. "I think the combination of Capers and Donahoe was more promising," one fan was quoted as saying.

In a story headlined It's all so crazy, it just might work, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote, "Belichick's behavior in recent weeks indicates he might be enough of a wacko to be an effective head coach."

How prophetic.

Since that time, Belichick ...

  • Became the only coach in NFL history to win six Super Bowls.

  • Became the fastest coach to reach 300 overall wins, doing so in his 434th game (Oct. 27, 2019). Don Shula (445 games) and George Halas (455) are the only other coaches on the list.

  • Won more regular-season games (123) and games overall (136) during a 10-year stretch (2002-11) than any coach in history.

  • Set the record for most division titles (17) for a coach, as well as the most consecutive division titles (11).

  • Established the record for most 12-win seasons, with 13. Shula is second, with eight.

  • Led the Patriots to the playoffs 17 times, upping his career total to 18, just one behind Shula's all-time record. In addition, his current streak of 11 straight playoff berths is a record for a coach, breaking the mark he shared with Tony Dungy, who did it 10 times (1999-08).

  • Directed the Patriots to a winning season in 19 consecutive years, second most all-time behind Tom Landry (20, 1966-85).

  • Put together a stretch of 17 straight 10-win seasons, an NFL record. George Seifert is second, with eight (1989-96).

Belichick, who turns 68 in April, shows no signs of slowing down. He spent time last week in Mobile, Alabama, at the Senior Bowl, scouting this year's prospects as he prepares for a 21st season as Patriots coach.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft's conviction in hiring him, and giving up a first-round draft choice to do so, has produced unprecedented success few could have seen coming. One of the headlines on Page 84 of the Globe the day after Belichick became Patriots coach read Mixed reviews around the league.

The view, 20 years later, is anything but mixed.