After winning his fourth Super Bowl as coach of the New England Patriots, there was a long list of things Bill Belichick did not want to talk about.
He did not want to talk about any of his individual achievements from the 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.
And that list is considerable. He matched Chuck Noll as the winningest coach in Super Bowl history. He extended his postseason record wins to 22. He joined Don Shula with six Super Bowl appearances as a head coach and tied Dan Reaves with nine overall appearances as player or coach.
He also did not want to talk about whether New England’s four titles in 14 seasons constitute a dynasty.
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He certainly didn’t want to second-guess the Seawhawks’ pass that was intercepted at the goal line in the closing seconds.
And he absolutely wasn’t revisiting “Deflategate.”
But for all those items off the table, there was plenty he wanted to say in an opening statement that ran more than two minutes, starting with a tribute to his team, winding into a tribute to coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks, and ending with a warm nod to his parents.
“I just want to start off saying that I couldn’t be prouder of this team,” were the first words out of his mouth. “These guys who have been counted out many times by a lot of people, but they always believed in themselves and they just kept fighting.”
Those doubters were especially intense after the Patriots fell to 2-2 with a 41-14 loss at Kansas City before a national TV audience.
However, Belichick cited that as the game when he came to realize this team was special.
“We weren’t having a good day, but we kept fighting,” he said. “We showed a lot of toughness and fight. … It wasn’t going well on the road — Monday night, great crowd, good team — but we battled them all the way to the end of the game. We weren’t close to winning, but the competitiveness was there.”
Belichick also extended the kind words he had for the Seahawks in the days leading up to the game.
“My hat’s off to Seattle,” he said. “The game couldn’t have been any closer that it was. They’re a great football team that (was) within a year or so, or a few seconds — however you want to look at it — of winning a second title. … I have all the respect in the world for them.”
The Patriots became the sixth team to win four or more Super Bowls. … New England prevented the Seahawks from being the first back-to-back champions since the Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005. … Super Bowl teams trailing by double digits at the start of the fourth quarter were 0-29 until New England’s come-from-behind victory. … All six of the Patriots’ Super Bowls under Belichick have been decided by either three or four points. … Six of the past seven Super Bowls overall have been decided by six points or fewer. … The team in white jerseys have won 10 of the past 11 Super Bowls. …. New England became the fourth team to lose the turnover battle but still win a Super Bowl. … The Patriots continued their streak of going scoreless in all six of their Super Bowl first quarters in the Belichick/Tom Brady era.