The Situationist

The Situation of Bill Belichick and the “Frank Sinatra Principle”

Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 4, 2013

Bill BelichickSeveral of us on The Situationist are fans of the New England Patriots and their head coach, Bill Belichick.  Belichick is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, football coaches around; he’s often called a “genius”.  Why?  His teams have won 3 Super Bowl championships, and he’s coached in five of the last 11 Super Bowls.  And he seems consistently smarter than other coaches in his strategies and designs.  It’s as if the Patriots begin each game with a sizable advantage in coaching.

But how much of Belichick’s success can be attributed to situation rather than ability and work ethic?  The Washington Post‘s Norman Chad argues quite a bit in his piece Patriots Coach Bill Belichick may be the luckiest man on Earth:

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Let us count the ways Belichick has been wildly fortunate in his NFL head-coaching career:

1. Most coaches would not even get a second chance, as Belichick did, after his four-losing-seasons-in-five stint with the Cleveland Browns from 1991-95.

2. He masterfully sidestepped the moribund New York Jets, who hired him in 2000, quitting one day after getting the job with his infamous, hand-scribbled note, “I resign as HC of the NYJ.”

3. During the second game of his second season as coach of the New England Patriots, Drew Bledsoe got hurt; otherwise, Tom Brady might still be on the sideline, texting Mark Sanchez about good-looking ladies in the stands.

4. The Tuck Rule Game in January 2002, in which Brady fumbled away the Patriots’ last chance against the Oakland Raiders, only to have referee Walt Coleman reverse the call via replay and reverse the course of NFL history for the next decade.

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Belichick is now regarded as a football genius. But without Bledsoe’s misfortune and Brady’s magnificence, Belichick might’ve been Eric Mangini before Eric Mangini, glumly sitting in an ESPN studio dispensing gridiron bromides. Instead, Belichick — with 12 straight winning seasons in New England — has become the ninth-winningest coach in NFL history.

Belichick is a great example of what I call the “Frank Sinatra Principle.” The Sinatra principle states that two singers can be born on the same Hoboken, N.J., block in the same year with similar skills, but one becomes a treasured entertainment icon and the other works the Ramada Inn lounge in Fairborn, Ohio. And it is a result of luck or connections as much as talent and hard work.

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Read the entire article here.  

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