Sportress of Blogitude

Bill Belichick reacts to Tom Thibodeau calling him his coaching idol

Bill Belichick is among the most accomplished head coaches in the history of the NFL — or any other major professional sport for that matter — and there are no shortage of devotees among his coaching colleagues across all sports.

One in particular especially reveres the longtime New England Patriots head coach: First-year New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau.

In an email interview this week with the New York Post, Belichick was informed that Thibodeau reveres him as an idol. Suffice to say, Belichick was flattered.

“We both have a strong background in defense,’’ Belichick stated regarding what he believes Thibodeau has taken from him. “But other than that, you would have to ask him for specifics. I love the way Tom coaches. He is poised and does a great job with adjustments and quick decisions.”

Belichick and Thibodeau first became aware of one another when Thibodeau served as an assistant and associate head coach on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Boston Celtics from 2007-10, when Belichick would occasionally be in attendance at TD Garden.

Later, Thibodeau attended a Patriots practice in 2012 as Belichick’s guest. Then, Belichick took in a Minnesota Timberwolves game in 2018 when the Patriots were in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII.

Thibodeau was of course serving as T’Wolves head coach at the time. He first revealed his admiration for Belichick in 2012 when he addressed how he studied the Patriots head coach from afar.

“I grew up in Connecticut, so obviously I’m a Patriots fan,” Thibodeau said. “When I was in Boston I had an opportunity to watch them very closely. I had the good fortune of going down [for] a day and watching practice and getting a chance to visit with him. Bill’s eyes are everywhere. He’s one of the all-time greats, if not the greatest. What he’s done is simply amazing, and as a New Englander I don’t take that for granted. I appreciate every moment.”

It should go without saying given their comments over the years that when it comes to Belichick and Thibodeau, the two are engaged in a mutual admiration society.