Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are synonymous with one another. The two have shared a successful symbiotic relationship for more than 2 decades now.
Having won 6 Super Bowls with the Patriots, it’s hard to recall a time when Belichick was in the league coaching a different outfit.
But before the turn of the millennium, that is exactly the case for Belichick. Bouncing around from one team to the other, Belichick could’ve established a dynasty elsewhere. Maybe even the Cleveland Browns.
Belichick entered the NFL as a Special Assistant for the Baltimore Colts in 1975. His claim to fame, however, came as Defensive Coordinator for the New York Giants back in 1985.
He soon garnered attention from other teams after the then Giants Head Coach Bill Parcels, along with Belichick, led the Giants to Super Bowl success not once but twice. And eventually, in 1991, the Cleveland Browns hired Belichick as their Head Coach.
Belichick took on the ailing Browns franchise and looked to replicate the success that he’d achieved with the Giants. But for Bill Belichick, his stint with the Browns was a mixed bag.
In his 5 seasons with the Browns, Belichick could only manage to take the Browns to the postseason once. That being in 1994, where he also got his first playoff as Head Coach. Incidentally, that win came against the New England Patriots.
But his 36-44 record was not enough to convince the Browns management, who decided to part ways with him in 1995.
During his time with the Browns, Belichick had Bernie Kosar as the starting QB. But Belichick ended up releasing the QB in 1993, a move that was frowned upon by fans and the Browns management alike.
But Kosar saw the potential in Belichick. After retiring in 1996, Kosar was still in regular touch with the Browns’ higher management.
And in 1998, when the Browns were looking for a new Head Coach, Kosar suggested bringing Belichick back to the helm.
“People won’t believe this, but when we were talking about coaches for the Browns in 1999, I mentioned hiring Bill to (owner Al) Lerner and [team president] Carmen Policy,” Kosar said according to Boston.com.
“They laughed me out of the office. They thought I was crazy. I thought Bill would be perfect for a team on a tight timeline because of his incredible organizational skills,” he added.
Eventually, Belichick stuck around with the Patriots and established one of the greatest dynasties in football history. Had the Browns taken a chance with Belichick for another stint, the NFL would’ve been a completely different league altogether.
We may not have had a Patriots dynasty or a Tom Brady. But in the end, things worked out for Belichick. And with 8 rings to his name, Belichick sure is glad how things turned out for him in the league.