As Bill Belichick prepares his New England Patriots team to take on the Seattle Seahawks, he does so with a heavy heart. Earlier this week, Belichick lost his mother. On Friday, his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, also lost one of her parents. Just don’t expect the man who has led the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles to use this difficult week as an excuse to not do his job. Because if anyone can compartmentalize and focus on football, it’s William Stephen Belichick.
Bill Belichick lost his mother on Monday
Bill Belichick may never have become the greatest coach in NFL history if not for his parents. Each played an important role in his relationship with football. And while his father carved out a professional career within the game, his mother provided her services for free right at home.
Steve Belichick became a legend at the United States Naval Academy. He authored Football Scouting Methods, which is considered to be the gold standard in the scouting industry. He dedicated his life to the Navy football program. Along the way, he even crossed paths with Nick Saban, who later became his son’s trusted colleague and friend.
However, as we learned this week, Jeannette Belichick also had a close relationship with football. In fact, Bill Belichick explained that while his father spent ample time on scouting trips, his mother would ensure football still remained a part of his home.
“Football season for me as a kid was my dad getting home late during the week and my mom on the weekends to watch football games,” he said during Thursday’s press conference. “We became very close and shared those experiences together.”
Jeannette Belichick died late Monday night of natural causes at the age of 98. And just days later, Linda Holliday, her son’s girlfriend, would experience a similar loss of her own.
Linda Holliday’s father died on Friday
Already dealing with the death of his mother, Bill Belichick suffered another emotional loss on Friday. Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe reported via Twitter that Belichick’s longtime girlfriend, Linda Holliday, lost her father. The 79-year-old died Friday morning, just four days after Belichick’s mother passed away.
For both Belichick and Holliday, this week surely will go down as one of the most difficult of their lives. Losing a parent is a journey nobody wants to face. Yet, the head coach of one of the most popular sports franchises in the world has to deal with the emotional toll of two deaths while also staying focused on his job.
And this week, Bill Belichick will have a challenging day at the office.
Patriots head coach faces a major challenge on Sunday
The first game of the Bill Belichick-Cam Newton era went fairly smoothly. New England unveiled a much different attack than it employed with Tom Brady running the show. Newton displayed the dual-threat abilities that made him the league’s MVP just five years ago. While the Patriots still need to find at least another weapon or two, the Week 1 victory represented a big step in the right direction for both Newton and the team.
However, Belichick and his new quarterback face a much more difficult test this week in the form of the Seahawks. With Russell Wilson playing at an MVP level yet again, Seattle looks like a top contender in the NFC. A defense that just added Jamal Adams features plenty of elite athletes who fly around the field. Star linebacker and entrepreneur Bobby Wagner will have to keep an eye on Newton all day, as he can take off at any moment to escape pressure.
For New England, the matchup will come down to the ability to slow down Seattle’s suddenly scary passing game. The Patriots boast arguably the deepest secondary in the league. Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson form an elite cornerback duo. Devin McCourty and his twin brother provide intelligence, sound technique, and plenty of experience.
On the other hand, the Seahawks counter with a cast of weapons that can inflict major damage. In Week 1, D.K. Metcalf picked up right where he left off after an exciting rookie season. The big-bodied burner caught four passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in Seattle’s season-opening win in Atlanta. Tyler Lockett posted 92 yards on eight receptions and is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL.
Plus, you can’t forget about the coaching battle that will take place on Sunday Night Football. Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll square off in a historic matchup of the two oldest coaches to go against each other in NFL history. Who will lead his team to victory? Will we get another epic fourth-quarter comeback from a Patriots team without Brady? Or will Wilson back Belichick’s words and prove he’s the best player in the NFL?
We’ll find out soon enough.