Innovative Football. The very words bring to mind Bill Belichick. After he failed in his first Head Coaching effort in Cleveland, Bill Belichick has coached the Patriots to five Super Bowl appearances: victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX, and subsequent losses in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007 and 2010 seasons. He is the NFL's second-longest tenured active head coach, behind Andy Reid.
Every NFL team has the same roster stipulations, Maximum salary cap to work with, and the same opportunity to field an organization to WIN Super Bowls. In the modern era of football he has been the best at doing that. Bill Belichick started at the bottom again in the 2000 NFL season. The Patriots went 5-11 in the 2000 regular season and missed the playoffs. To date, this is Belichick's only losing season with the Patriots.
The Patriots were built by 6 men in varying positions:
Bill Belichick Head Coach
Scott Pioli Player Personnel Director
Ernie Adams Football Researcher
Charlie Weiss Offensive Coordinator
Romeo Crennel Defensive Coordinator
Tom Brady Quarterback
The game of Football is simular to the Art of Warfare in that yardage won is the goal. How you amass the yardage and stop your opponent from doing the same is the Art of Football.
The Battle of Gallopoli in World War One is a prime example of Trench warfare at it Ugliest. After the Landings on the Turkish peninsula the allies barely moved a mile inland and a second landing met the same fate. In A Year of Fighting!
By the time the Gallipoli Campaign ended, over 120,000 men had died. More than 80,000 Turkish soldiers and 44,000 British and French soldiers, including over 8,500 Australians. Among the dead were 2,721 New Zealanders, about a quarter of those who had landed on the peninsula.
World War One showed that trench warfare is only a single piece of modern warfare. NFL line play is only a piece of solid football. The NFL has played many decades of football with smash mouth offensive and defensive lines and bulldozing Runningbacks and Linebackers.
Measures and counter-measures were better players.
At some point, in the evolution of the NFL game, Quarterbacks and Receivers joined the fray. In World War Two, the Germans and later the Allies, began to experiment with Manuever Warfare and combined Arms attacks. Slogging a mile, at times, became a thing of the past. Parachute behind the enemy, attack behind the enemy with air-power, and combine that with your infantry and armor. The enemy had to defend not only in width but depth too. Anti-Tank, Anti-Aircraft, and mobile reserves all became necessary things. Secondary things but required to win on the battlefield.
Sadly, in the evolution of the NFL game plan the Chiefs were pretty good in the secondary. But seriously lacking in the offense to win the battle. A good Infantry up front and no armor to penetrate, or some decent Air weapons and no General to lead the Attack. Seems the Chiefs were always deficent in more than one aspect when we were strong in others.
Vietnam brought a new way of attack, Air-Mobile or Air-Cav, the helicopter forces of the past were more Intelligience gathering or Evacuation of the wounded driven (Evac). The US and then the Israelis moved troops into battle, jumping over a static resistance line to create a different type of Blitzkreig.
Bill Belichick would call this Tight-Ends.
Slot WR's also. Short attack weapons to compliment the long range Jets that strike deep. Tight-ends are like Tanks dropped behind enemy lines to crush their secondary defenses. A linebacker would have to watch his front and his flank. A Safety would have to watch his flank (WR) and his front (TE). All of a sudden the secondary players have no ability to be front-facing weapons.
Philosophy & Mindset
- Strength vs Weakness - You want to pit your strength against your opponent's weakness in combat.
- Mobility - Being able to out meneuver your opponent allows you to control most other aspects of a battle.
- Advance & Retreat - There is no humiliation in retreat. Mongols frequently use retreat to create advantage in combat through ambushes and spreading out the opponent's forces.
- Discipline - Mongol soldiers were heavily trained in the planned tactics that they could work through a battle without the need to shout orders. Nor did they break ranks except when it was orchestrated. Unlike a temporary feudal service of European armies, Mongol soldiers used their hunting and herding skills in combat and thus were in training year round.
- Opponent's Morale - Mongols inflated stories of their battlefield prowess to intimidate their opponents, and used other propaganda and pyrotechnics to break the opponent's morale before and during the battle. Even the present meaning of the word Horde in European languages to be a large overwhelming mass of people, rather than a small campsite as it means in Mongol, is a continued result of such propaganda.
- Objective - Never lose sight of the overall object, even in the heat of battle. A charge may smash the unit in front of you while abandoning an important strategic position thus losing the war.
Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
Sun Tzu - [War]
The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
Sun Tzu - [Preparation]
Space and Depth, Speed vs Strout, Cover vs Take-down. Where once it was a single TE it is now Two.
I am glad Pioli and Crennel were part of the original Think-Tank. "Preparation is afoot." Sherlock Holmes