The Patriots have a historical defense, with stars at every end of the field. Bill Belichick appeared to be the defensive play-caller, but now his son Steve appears to be the secret to the unit's success.
One of Bill Belichick's two sons on the Patriots staff, Stephen's life has revolved around sports. He attended Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts, where he played football as a linebacker, tight end, fullback, and long-snapper. He also played lacrosse and was an All-League Honorable Mention selection senior year.
These similarities in sports are shared with his father, who played football and lacrosse in high school as well. Steve attended Rutgers University from 2008 to 2011, where he continued to play lacrosse. He continued to play football, now as a long-snapper, to help him as he transitioned into a career of coaching.
In 2012, Steve was hired to the New England Patriots coaching staff as a coaching assistant. He would be in that position for four seasons, before being promoted to safeties coach at the start of 2016. He is now also the head secondary coach, boasting what appears to be the best unit in the league. But Steve Belichick is determined to rise through the Patriots ranks, and has possibly assumed the role of defensive play-caller.
At the Helm
According to many players, Stephen has been calling defensive plays for the majority of the season. But Bill Belichick still remains a factor in the defense, as whenever he deems necessary he will directly go to the defense with an adjustment. Even so, Steve remains the most experienced assistant left on the defensive staff, and has earned the respect and trust of players he coaches.
“We’ve started to gel with (Steve Belichick), knowing what he’s going to call and the way he thinks through the game,” Patriots safety Terrence Brooks said. “Man, I love that dude. I really do. That’s my guy. He’s just a great coach. He understands his players, he goes out there and he wants you to do right. He’s pulling for you. You always come across some coaches who just wanna yell, but he makes you learn, he teaches you things and expects a lot out of his DBs.”Terrence Brooks on Steve Belichick
The praise is not exclusively from players he coaches directly in the secondary, as his influence has spread throughout the defense. Defensive captain Elandon Roberts recognizes the loss of Brian Flores (to the Dolphins as Head Coach), but is glad Steve is there to fill the void.
“(Flores) was my linebackers coach, so once he became the play-caller, it was easy to trust what he was saying," Roberts said. "And I’ve been here with Steve the whole way. So it’s easy to trust him. Coaching side of it, he gets the highest praise from me.”Elandon Roberts on the change from Flores to Steve
The players aren't the only ones that sense potential greatness in Steve Belichick's coaching career. Coaches like Jerod Mayo have noticed the similarities between Steve and Bill.
“He’s also one of those guys, like his dad, appreciates the history of the game,” Mayo said, “appreciates the X’s and O’s and how the game’s evolved. He's always dropping some nuggets on us”Mayo on the similarities between Steve and Bill Belichick
Of course, ask Steve, Bill, or Mayo who's calling plays and they’ll play coy. It is possible, probable, that Bill is putting together the game plan, and Mayo and Steve are executing it during the game. Either way, it's working quite well. The one thing we know for sure is that the rise of Steve is eerily similar to that of Bill's.
“I’m just happy to be here. Happy to keep working,” Steve Belichick said. “We’ve got a great group of defensive players. They play hard. It’s been a lot of fun working with Jerod and everybody on staff.”Steve Belichick on coaching the defense
There is a good chance that Bill wants Steve to replace him one day, if not as Head Coach then at the very least Defensive Coordinator. In a few years, Steve could potentially leave for greater opportunities elsewhere if Bill can't give him a spot he deserves. But no matter if he stays or goes, Steve will have that Belichick talent and success will follow him.