Updated: Jan 22
Hands down, the best coach in NFL history has yet another award to add to his resume. This one has little to do with football, but may be the most prestigious. This award has co-honories like, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr, Lyndon B. Johnson, Rosalyn Carter, Nelson Mandela, Fred Rogers, and so on. This award is the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
On Sunday, President Trump announced that he will be awarding the former Browns head coach with the award. Obviously, the award is being given to Belichick for his prompt departure from the New York Jets when he was hired as the head coach.
Now there is a lot of people out there saying that Belichick shouldn’t accept this award. To me, these people are blinded by the man who is presenting the award. Like I said earlier, this award has been given to some of the greatest people in American, even World history. It has also been given to some of the best coaches and athletes in sports history. John Wooden and Tiger Woods come to mind.
The awards history doesn't rely on the person that selects the winners. We all know President Trump’s words and actions of the past week are, to use his term, tremendously problematic. I’m not going to relitigate that whole issue. But that shouldn’t complicate the legacy of this award. Bill Belichick’s father was a big supporter of the military, and like it or not, Belichick at least was a Trump supporter at one point. At that time, so was just about half the country. I personally don’t know if Belichick has changed his political allegiance. It doesn’t matter in this context.
Objectively, Belichick has done all there is to do in the NFL as a coach. He has 8 Super Bowl rings as a head coach and assistant. He has kept the Patriots, until this year, relevant and in the playoff picture for 20 years. In the salary cap era, that is unheard of.
Belichick has taken some shots for being a little less than empathetic in his strategies and handling of personnel decisions. He can be a little harsh. I think that is what makes him great. As a person who likes people to be more straight forward and not pull any punches, Belichick’s habit of “cutting people before their bad” is undeniably successful. And his treatment of the media is unparelleled in today’s world. He gives no journalist anything. He makes them work for their story.
Now I know it is just sports. But Belichick has set the precedent for greatness and how to run a team. His team first attitude and his work ethic is something that is missing in this world.
All of this aside, Belichick should 100% accept this award if he wants to. He has every right to deny it if he chooses, but I think it is an honor that anyone would take if they were selected. There are a few things in life that rise above politics and this is one of those things. I, for one, would be very interested to see his speech if he does indeed accept the award. I also will enjoy seeing all of the media’s heads EXPLODE. That is always an entertaining sight.
Now, as a PR move, it may not be the best due to black cloud of media hatred that comes with anything associated with Trump. But as a general, I don’t think Belichick gives a shit what the media thinks of him. That’s been pretty obvious in the past 20 years of “we’re on the Cincinnati” and “it was best for the team.”