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Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  971 ratings  ·  102 reviews

The definitive biography of the NFL’s most enigmatic, controversial, and yet successful coach

            Bill Belichick is perhaps the most fascinating figure in the NFL—the infamously dour face of one of the winningest franchises in sports. As head coach of the New England Patriots, he’s led the team to five Super Bowl championship trophies. I
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a devout Patriots fan and awed by the brilliant football mind of it's coach. My issue with this unauthorized biography is the long winded sections about non football legal issues relating to "Spygate", "Deflategate" "Audio Headphonegate" and "Malcolm Butler Super Bowl Benching Gate". Nothing new here but I was interested in the teams the coach constructed that won six Super Bowls in 18 years. I get it, sports fans hate dynasties and always root for David ...more
Brandon Forsyth
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
The word exhaustive is used in a few reviews here, and I think that’s a perfect double-edged adjective to use in describing this book. There are moments of clear insight here that rival the Tiger Woods biography from earlier this year in their penetrating revelations of the fragile egos behind these two great champions, but there’s also a lot of stuff here that’s got an obligatory feel to it, with little fresh study of the championships and the other hallowed and/or infamous moments of which eve ...more
Andrew Lee
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
starts out good but the latter portion, arguably the most interesting part of Belichick's career, might as well just be a compilation of gossipy ESPN articles. it costs $0 to read gossipy ESPN articles. ...more
Bret Rock
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall I thought it was fair to Belichick (note: I am a die-hard Pats' fan), but I would say that in talking about the "Gates" that O'Connor didn't do all that even-handed a job discussing them. There was also a few instances where he wrote what Belichick *should* have done in terms of roster development which seems a little presumptuous. It also came out before the sixth title, so the last chapter and the epilogue in particular feel less relevant.

Overall a good book, but not nearly as good as
Nancy Gacek
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed learning about his pre-Patriot years. He is emotionally stunted.

The Patriot years are well known and were redundant to me.
Randell Green
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, but extremely dense and at times felt like a textbook. Fantastic memories with many instances I had long forgotten. 🏈🏈🏈
Mike Hohrath
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading this alongside watching the docuseries "The Last Dance" has been a transformative experience over the last couple of weeks. The Last Dance follow's Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bull's dynasty during the 90's and this book cover's Belichick & Brady and the founding of the Patriots Dynasty of the 2000's-10's. What shines through in both works is the subject matter's absolute commitment to their craft and the champion mindset that is required to be the best at what you do. They have helpe ...more
Ben Zornes
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-candy, biography
Ok, ok...I got curious. I am decidedly not a Pats fan. But success is intriguing, and I wanted to see what sort of leader the most successful coach in NFL history was.
In short, there aren't a lot of takeaways in this book, as Belichick notoriously holds his cards close. This biography is largely what others have to say about him. He is ruthlessly focused. He is surprisingly generous. He is shameless in gaming the rules. He is great at taking responsibility for team failures. He is willing to lis
John W
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Marcher
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bios-and-memoirs
This was a well-written account of Bill Belichick and how be became the coach in New England, then how he used the team to grow and become the successful football genius he is today. A pillar of responsibility and steadfastness leading the winningest team and the GOAT to countless thrilling championships, and fighting his way through myriad controversies can be a life difficult to recount, but O'Connor tried his best to humanize the unflinching resting bitch face that Belichick personifies, whil ...more
Alisa Luciano
So almost 500 pages is a lot for a presidential biography and this is a football coach, not a president. First, it was long. I am basically the most un-footbally person out there. But I do watch the Patriots games when they are on in my house. Mostly I am interested in people and personalities. Belichick reminds me of a sarcastic professor who knows he’s smarter than everyone else, demands the hard work he expends from everyone else, but is also nice to people undercover and in ways you don’t ex ...more
Patriot haters might hate this because you have to read a lot about the greatest coach in history. Patriot lovers might hate this because of the heavy negative focus towards Belichick. I think a neutral person would say that Belichick is fascinating and that the book spends too much time on left handed compliments. O'Connor probably set out to be unbiased, but his bias is very clear throughout the book. He might want to re-think his last chapter based on the results of the 2019 Super Bowl. ...more
Tom Stamper
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wouldn't call this a biography because Mr. O'Connor has very little to tell us about the coach outside the game he is known for. It does begin with the requisite genealogy that you'd see in a biography, but other than announcing a child's birth or a friend passing the story is about how this marginal athlete became the most important coach of the Super Bowl era. This is told in a series of relationships beginning with Bill and his father and progressing with the coaches he played for and then ...more Biography & Memoir
Ian O’Connor’s BELICHICK is a deep and substantive dive into the life of a man many recognize as one of professional football’s greatest coaches. It is a football junkie’s delight, providing generous detail about a man whose football destiny was declared almost at birth. O’Connor accomplished this meticulous chronicle without any assistance from his subject or many in Belichick’s inner circle. He makes it quite clear that Belichick, in addition to declining interviews for the book, asked friends ...more
Scott Martin
Jun 08, 2019 rated it liked it
(3.5 Stars) This work attempts to provide the biography to date about one of the greatest, and most mysterious, head coaches in football history. O’Connor relies on various sources (but not a lot of interaction with the man himself) to get insight into the life and actions of the man who went from being the son of a renowned coach, to protégée of a legendary coach, to a failed first experiment to getting his chance to not only coach again, but through planning and some luck, emerge to become one ...more
Anthony Stewart
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a detailed accounting of the greatest coach in NFL history. It is not as good of a book as David Halberstam's "The Education of a Coach," but it provides a more complete picture of Belichick's career.
The most interesting parts for me was the development of his coaching style over the years, from his time in New York with the football Giants, his first head coaching gig, until his extended stay with my hometown Patriots. He has developed in the way he treats his players. An updated accoun
Erick Pastora
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, sports
To sum up Belichick's football career and everything around it in just over 500 pages must've been a Herculean task, and will probably later be edited to give us all the details on the Patriots' sixth ring and the divorce between Tom Brady and New England.

"I'm telling you... Get away from the media thing and know Bill" were the words of one of Belichick's coaching staff members and this is precisely what this book does. This unauthorized biography gives you an insight into how Belichick was a wi
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Book #3 of the self-isolation bookshelf clean out. This one had been sitting in a stack after I received it as a Christmas gift over a year ago, and I had not been inclined to pick it up because I had the impression that it was going to prevent a pretty slanted view.

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by how balanced this book was, with a few exceptions. Although the coach himself wasn't interviewed, the author managed to speak with seemingly dozens of players, coaches, and associates to pain
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: New Englanders unsatisfied by year-'round coverage of the Patriots.
Recommended to Richard by: A good friend passed it along for my edification
This is an extensively detailed study of Belichick's life pretty much up to his Patriot days.

It was frequently too anal for me to stay the course, as it were, and I never did see a reasonable analysis of how the coach might have prepared his team for, say, their 6th Super Bowl championship, shutting down the Rams' high-powered offense nearly completely. The book does not actually get that far, but, outside of watching and cutting film, little is offered analytically save the exceptional results.
Reza Moaddeli
Sep 26, 2019 is currently reading it
As of this review I am on page 33

Bill Belichick was born into a football family. His father, Steve Belichick was a coach at the Naval academy. Young Bill learned from the Naval players to respect your elders and work hard. In high school Bill was a standout center and played defense in lacrosse. Bill studied football 24/7 from a young age and perfected his craft of snapping the ball.
Up to where I am currently the main characters have been Bill, his father Steve Belichick and his mother Jeanett
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title of this book is misleading. This isn't so much about the making of Bill Belichick as it is about his success.

The Education of a Coach is a better "making of" book. That book had more background on his upbringing, his father, and his early years. It was published in 2006, so there wasn't as much to work with.

This book sort of breezes through childhood and his early jobs. It starts getting more filled in when we get to the Giants. And that makes sense since the author was not able to tal
Zach Scott
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The novel Belichick by Ian O'Connor is a fabulous book. The biography of the NFL’s most brilliant coach Bill Belichick is perhaps the most fascinating coach in the NFL. Bill is apart of the most winningest franchises in sports. The setting of the book Belichick is wonderful because it is set in the music city of Nashville Tennessee. Bill made many new friends who he had met in the city of Nashville. While Bill lived in the music city he went to every one of the local country concerts. His favori ...more
Chad Bullard
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. I finished it this summer. I wished I would have written my review after reading. I guess I need to get back to using goodreads again. It has been awhile. This book did a great job of showing whom Bill Belichick is as a coach. You get to see what makes him tick and how he become the greatest NFL coach of all time. He was almost would have never happened, but a freak play against the Jets happened, and in comes Brady to take over, and the rest is history. He is probably ...more
Michael B
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Books like there are always a gamble. Is it about the subject and their life? Or is the book about the author’s agenda and point of view? It felt like the author consistently used some facts and entirely too much heresay to frame Belichick as he saw fit rather than leaving it up to the reader to form an opinion. Do I care what the author feels about Belichick’s personality shortcomings, brush ups with the NFL or politics? Not in the least, and that really diminished the book for me. Is it any wo ...more
Michael Mc
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
The word exhaustive is used in a few reviews here, and I think that’s a perfect double-edged adjective to use in describing this book. There are moments of clear insight here that rival the Tiger Woods biography from earlier this year in their penetrating revelations of the fragile egos behind these two great champions, but there’s also a lot of stuff here that’s got an obligatory feel to it, with little fresh study of the championships and the other hallowed and/or infamous moments of which eve ...more
Geoffrey Clapp
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable, detailed read; while most people will be very familiar with his Patriots successes (and challenges) unpacking his early career - and the dense, overlapping world that is football coaches - is well researched and interesting. It shapes the story of a focused, intense, line-walking individual who is impossible to categorize. Your point of view on Belichick and the Patriots writ large will inform if you think the book is "too tough" or "not tough enough", which illustrates that it balanc ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Breezy read about Belichick. More nuanced than many of the Boston-area reporters as relates to very competitive scandals. Few takeaways:

1. Leadership style - focus on being the same person ever day; very demanding and detail focused, but try to relate on a personal level
2. Media - sounds like BB and his team are pretty active putting out leaks to trusted reporters
3. Work ethic - pretty amazing just how demanding BB is of himself and his staff, starting before 6am most days and going well into th
Scott Vout
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
A very interesting read if you have any interest in the Patriots and Bill Belichick.

I have been a fan of both for over 30 years so i enjoyed this one. Bleichick had nothing to do with the story according to Mr. O'Connor so I found it very interesting how information was obtained.

The events written about came back to my memory as though yesterday. I would say 90% i could confirm through following the team over the years. That 10% that i did not remember or did not know was what made the book for
David Edie
Ian O'Connor is an exceptional biographer. This was the 2nd sports biography of his that I have read (I previously read "The Captain", focusing on Derek Jeter) and once again he turned out a phenomenal story, detailing not only the internal and external forces that make Belichick the greatest coach in NFL history, but some of the negative consequences of the actions that have made him so good at his job. My next book will surely be O'Connor's "Arnie and Jack" about two of golf's greatest legends ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
a book with an agenda filled with opinion hearsay and conjectures. so many unsourced quotes. it’s hard to take as a historical non fiction. reads like a summary of media articles with no further insight. no inside knowledge. things are often presented out of order and with oversimplification

poorly written too (two-Pete) and a part of me wants to say that they knew it too cause his first place writing awards were added to the author bio
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