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Thread: Bill Belichick's place in sports history

  1. #11
    Big Leaguer hacko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dslaw View Post
    I'm still not sure about this one.

    Lombardi 10 years, 5 titles, no losing seasons (Packers were 1-10-1 pre-Lombardi, 7-5 in year 1; hadn't had a winning season in 11 years prior to Lombardi; Redskins 5-9 pre-Lombardi, 7-5-2 in year 1; hadn't had a winning season in 13 seasons prior to Lombardi), winning % of .738.

    Belichick 24 years, 6 titles, 5 losing seasons (Browns were 3-13 pre-Bill, 6-10 in year 1; had winning seasons 4 years in a row prior to the 3-13 year; Patriots 8-8 pre-Bill, 5-11 in year 1; had winning seasons 3 years in a row prior to the 8-8 year), winning % of .680. All 5 losing seasons were in his 1st six years of coaching, 18 straight years of winning seasons since then.

    By the numbers I think Lombardi is a pretty clear winner. The only reason Bill is talked about being better is the vast difference in the game from the Lombardi era till now. It is tough to argue Lombardi is better than Bill but I still think there is an argument to be had.
    But could Lombardi handle today’s player and free agency?

  2. #12
    it's worth mentioning that there were only 14 teams during Lombardi's first 3 titles, not 32.

    for the first two, his team leaped immediately into the championship game.
    harder to win 3 playoff games than 1, for sure.

    granted that this is like looking at Cindy Crawford and saying, "Wait, is that a mole?"
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judge Jude View Post
    it's worth mentioning that there were only 14 teams during Lombardi's first 3 titles, not 32.

    for the first two, his team leaped immediately into the championship game.
    harder to win 3 playoff games than 1, for sure.

    granted that this is like looking at Cindy Crawford and saying, "Wait, is that a mole?"
    Nicely played.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by hacko View Post
    But could Lombardi handle today’s player and free agency?
    I think this also goes to the "Who is better, Bonds or Ruth?". Would Ruth still drink beer & eat hot dogs like he did if he played today? Would Ruth handle the night games and travel today's players have? Would Ruth's head grow 2 sizes larger?

    When I was young Unitas was proclaimed as the best QB in history. But many journeymen QBs in today's game have better stats than Johnny U does. This doesn't mean that Rich Gannon is better than Unitas. The game has changed so much you can't compare stats. That is why I say Lombardi has much better stats but it is still tough to say he is better than Bill. But I do think that if someone says Lombardi is better there is an argument to be had and each side could bring up items to support their case. It was a couple of years ago I had this discussion and I was on the Lombardi is 1A and Bill is 1B side. Since then Bill has a super bowl loss and a super bowl win. I think I lean to Bill being 1A and Lombardi 1B right now but can't say anyone putting Lombardi 1 is clearly wrong.

  5. #15
    Big Leaguer TS Garp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dslaw View Post
    I think this also goes to the "Who is better, Bonds or Ruth?". Would Ruth still drink beer & eat hot dogs like he did if he played today? Would Ruth handle the night games and travel today's players have? Would Ruth's head grow 2 sizes larger?

    When I was young Unitas was proclaimed as the best QB in history. But many journeymen QBs in today's game have better stats than Johnny U does. This doesn't mean that Rich Gannon is better than Unitas. The game has changed so much you can't compare stats. That is why I say Lombardi has much better stats but it is still tough to say he is better than Bill. But I do think that if someone says Lombardi is better there is an argument to be had and each side could bring up items to support their case. It was a couple of years ago I had this discussion and I was on the Lombardi is 1A and Bill is 1B side. Since then Bill has a super bowl loss and a super bowl win. I think I lean to Bill being 1A and Lombardi 1B right now but can't say anyone putting Lombardi 1 is clearly wrong.
    Fair enough. It's impossible to know how successfully Lombardi would have adjusted to today's game and culture (if at all). That's what makes these comparisons so difficult -- is Wooden a better coach than Coach K? Would he have had the same number of championships when Kareem and Bill Walton inevitably left after one year? Impossible to know but fun to debate. I just think that Belichick's accomplishments at this point are so far and above, given the era, that he's almost transcended some of the questions (like the ones I just mentioned) that typically make these debates so difficult.

    In a semi-related note, Joe Posnanski has a column in the Athletic about whether Babe Ruth would be a superstar in today's game. Again, impossible to answer but fun to speculate on.

  6. #16
    Big Leaguer Kevin Seitzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TS Garp View Post
    In a semi-related note, Joe Posnanski has a column in the Athletic about whether Babe Ruth would be a superstar in today's game. Again, impossible to answer but fun to speculate on.
    I haven't read the Posnanski column yet, but I think the answer depends on what you mean when you say Babe Ruth transported to today's game. Do you mean Ruth, plucked out of time from 1925 and dropped into spring training 2019? He would almost certainly struggle to deal with today's pitching. By no means would he be a superstar. Whether he could hold his own enough to maintain a spot on a major league roster, I don't know, but I doubt it. On the hand, Ruth brought to the present as a boy and allowed to train with modern methods and to familiarize himself with today's level of competition over time...that might be a different story. Hard to say.
    "There was nothing for him to do under the truck, but it's tough to blame him now that he is dead." -V.Erps 3/26/2005

  7. #17
    Big Leaguer TS Garp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Seitzer View Post
    I haven't read the Posnanski column yet, but I think the answer depends on what you mean when you say Babe Ruth transported to today's game. Do you mean Ruth, plucked out of time from 1925 and dropped into spring training 2019? He would almost certainly struggle to deal with today's pitching. By no means would he be a superstar. Whether he could hold his own enough to maintain a spot on a major league roster, I don't know, but I doubt it. On the hand, Ruth brought to the present as a boy and allowed to train with modern methods and to familiarize himself with today's level of competition over time...that might be a different story. Hard to say.
    Yeah, he means literally plucked from 1927 and put in today's game. Apparently, Bill James had some thoughts about it on Twitter.

  8. #18
    Big Leaguer Kevin Seitzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TS Garp View Post
    Yeah, he means literally plucked from 1927 and put in today's game. Apparently, Bill James had some thoughts about it on Twitter.
    And now I've read Posnanski's article and skimmed Bill's much longer article, which Poz summarized.

    I see a few inter-related issues that I think would be very difficult for Ruth to overcome in the course of one season. One is that his swing is way too long to deal with 95+ heat, and even for 90-mph fastballs he would be hard pressed to be on time. Two is that I don't believe he saw anything like the sliders of today back then. Picking out sliders from fastballs is a task that fails many hitters. Even if Ruth had the eyesight to do it, I doubt he would do it without gaining the skill by experience over time. His swing did get on plane early through the zone, so once he learned to see the slider, I think he could hit it...but...the big bat tip and long swing (not to mention the heavy bat, which he could presumably abandon) doesn't give him the leeway to adjust late between a fastball and a slider once he learns to recognize it. He'd have to tighten up his load and make it more compact. He's probably strong enough to still have a lot of power once he does that, but that's not an easy swing change to make overnight by any means. And finally, today, he'd have advance scouting teams breaking down his weaknesses from video and TrackMan data after the first series or two he played in spring training. Whatever adjustments he hadn't made yet, they'd find and exploit those weaknesses.
    "There was nothing for him to do under the truck, but it's tough to blame him now that he is dead." -V.Erps 3/26/2005

  9. #19
    Big Leaguer TS Garp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Seitzer View Post
    And now I've read Posnanski's article and skimmed Bill's much longer article, which Poz summarized.

    I see a few inter-related issues that I think would be very difficult for Ruth to overcome in the course of one season. One is that his swing is way too long to deal with 95+ heat, and even for 90-mph fastballs he would be hard pressed to be on time. Two is that I don't believe he saw anything like the sliders of today back then. Picking out sliders from fastballs is a task that fails many hitters. Even if Ruth had the eyesight to do it, I doubt he would do it without gaining the skill by experience over time. His swing did get on plane early through the zone, so once he learned to see the slider, I think he could hit it...but...the big bat tip and long swing (not to mention the heavy bat, which he could presumably abandon) doesn't give him the leeway to adjust late between a fastball and a slider once he learns to recognize it. He'd have to tighten up his load and make it more compact. He's probably strong enough to still have a lot of power once he does that, but that's not an easy swing change to make overnight by any means. And finally, today, he'd have advance scouting teams breaking down his weaknesses from video and TrackMan data after the first series or two he played in spring training. Whatever adjustments he hadn't made yet, they'd find and exploit those weaknesses.
    Fascinating stuff -- thanks for posting! I wonder if 1949 Ted Williams is a more interesting one to consider.

    On a side note, how amazing is it that in his final season, at age 41, Williams went .316/.451/.645?

  10. #20
    Big Leaguer Kevin Seitzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TS Garp View Post
    Fascinating stuff -- thanks for posting! I wonder if 1949 Ted Williams is a more interesting one to consider.

    On a side note, how amazing is it that in his final season, at age 41, Williams went .316/.451/.645?
    I think Williams would be more prepared to face today's pitchers than Ruth would be, in the same situation where they are dropped in and have days or weeks to prepare as opposed to years. But I think he would suffer from many of the same issues to a lesser degree.
    "There was nothing for him to do under the truck, but it's tough to blame him now that he is dead." -V.Erps 3/26/2005

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