Earlier this week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s mother passed at the age of 98. On Thursday, Belichick acknowledged the support he has received from the coaching community, and he paid tribute to Jeannette Belichick.
“First of all, I’d just like to thank everyone who’s reached out and expressed their sympathy and condolences for my mom,” Belichick said. Especially, Pete [Carroll] had some really great words and John Harbaugh and many others that I know — friends, football people — and honestly, many people that I’ve never met or contacted before, so do really appreciate the support there. You know, as an only child — I mean, everybody’s close with their or has a certain relationship with their mom and dad — but as an only child, I was especially close to my parents. My mom and I spent a lot of time together and she was a great woman. I certainly learned pretty much everything from my parents. And then, you know, with her love that she gave to her grandkids, to Amanda, Steve and Brian, was ultra-special to me as well. So, I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and condolences that have been expressed. She had almost 99 years, so a very long and happy life. So, she’ll be with my dad now.”
Belichick explained that, because his father served as a scout for the Navy football team, mother and son spent plenty of hours watching football together.
“My dad was away a lot on scouting trips, and so I always kind of grew up with her on the weekends, on football weekends, at home,” Belichick said. “So we watched hundreds of games together, whether it was Navy games or listened to them on the radio or watched other games that were on TV and so forth when my dad was away on Friday night, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday morning, depending on how far he had to travel for the games that he was scouting. . . . And we became very close and shared those experiences together.”
Belichick explained that his mother spoke seven different languages, and that she served as a map translator in World War II.
“Unfortunately, those language skills didn’t rub off on her son, and one language is really about all I have,” he said. “But she encouraged me to do the things that I wanted to do. She was very supportive of those.”
That love, encouragement, and support helped give the football world the best coach it ever has seen, and perhaps one of the best it ever will see.