ST. PAUL, Minn. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick created some buzz by descending from the team plane sporting a fedora Monday as the team arrived in Minnesota ahead of Super Bowl LII.
A common thought was that it was an ode to one of his idols, Paul Brown, seeing as he made a similar gesture prior to a 2010 game that pulled him into a tie with Brown for 12th on the all-time wins list.
This time, however, the connection was to an even greater coaching influence.
“It’s my dad’s hat,” Belichick said during the Opening Night festivities.
Steve Belichick coached at the collegiate level for 43 years, 40 of them as an assistant. He served in Normandy and Okinawa as a member of the Navy prior to a brief NFL career with the Detroit Lions. Most of his life’s work was with the Naval Academy, where he was a backfield coach and scout from 1956-89.
“That’s who I learned from,” Bill Belichick said. “Working hard, doing your job, paying attention to details, treating the players as fairly and honestly as you can treat them. If it’s good, it’s good, if it’s bad, it’s bad. Just being honest with them. I would say all of those things I got from a lot of coaches, but I certainly got it from him.”
While Belichick downplayed the significance of choosing to wear the hat for this occasion — “I just saw the hat this morning, thought, it’s Minnesota, it’s cold … so put a hat on,” he said — there could well be more to it.
The last Super Bowl memory he had with his dad came in 2005, when the two were doused with Gatorade following a win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Steve died the following November at the age of 86. The Patriots will be playing the Eagles once again on Sunday.
Belichick was asked, besides it being a chilled Minnesota Super Bowl, why he chose to wear the hat in this moment.
“I just thought it was the right thing to do,” he said.