Excerpt from NFL.com
NEW YORK -- The newest installment of the Emmy Award-winning programming partnership of HBO Sports and NFL Films profiles the long-standing relationship between generational football coaches Bill Belichick and Nick Saban in a feature-length documentary titled "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching," it was announced today by Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports and Ross Ketover, Chief Executive of NFL Films. Directed by award-winning documentarian Ken Rodgers and produced by Paul Camarata, both of NFL Films, "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" will premiere TUESDAY, DEC. 10 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
"Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO partners' streaming platforms.
"Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have earned their rightful place in the pantheon of greatest coaches ever, across all sports, and this film intimately spotlights their woven history from Navy to Cleveland to now," said Nelson.
"It will capture for the first-time ever some of the most engaging and personal conversations held every year by the two most towering figures in the game today. We are excited to partner with NFL Films to tell this unique story of friendship and mentorship."
"Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have become the modern versions of Vince Lombardi and John Wooden - symbols of success not just in sports, but in life," said Ross Ketover, Chief Executive of NFL FILMS. "Their lessons on leadership are an inspiration; not just for those of us who love football, but for anyone who wants to thrive at whatever passion they pursue."
Spanning 90 minutes, "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" brings into focus a four-decade-long friendship between two of the most successful and revered football coaches in the history of the sport. Belichick and Saban grant unprecedented camera access to their annual coaching retreat, where they share a multi-layered conversation about their interwoven history, admiration, coaching philosophies, and more. The intimate portrait invites viewers to examine first-hand their blueprints for organizational success, in what can only be described as a literal "meeting of the minds."
Combined with one-on-one interviews and extensive inside access captured over the past three decades, "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" includes topics never publicly broached before, including their fathers' respective influences on their careers, their tenure with the Cleveland Browns organization in the 1990s, and how they connect with the newest generation of players. The film features interviews with peers, assistant coaches and family members, including both coaches' children, Hall of Fame tight end and former Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, among many others.
It's no secret that neither Bill Belichick or Nick Saban is a big fan of the media requirements that come with being a head coach. Neither wants to have his words twisted into bulletin board material. To avoid that they both have given some of the least compelling interviews known to man. NFL 100 is going to give fans so much great NFL content but nothing has the pressure of Belichick & Saban to be great.
This duo consists of quite possibility the greatest pro and college coach of all time. They both expect greatness. This has the potential to be HBO's most watched sports doc ever. Everybody who is on the football fan spectrum is going to what to hear their uncut thoughts. That being said, with all due respect to Saban, he flopped as an NFL coach. 15-17. Outside of the states where it's illegal to have an abortion I don't think Saban is the big draw here. He's the John Oates of this doc.
Make no mistakes about it, the NFL is king and nobody in the history of this game has had a more successful run as a HC than BB. As I say that I kind of take it back. This doc has almost no pressure on it. People will likely S this doc's D even if it's not that good just because of the men it highlights. Both give you next to nothing of note in interviews, but we all still watch and hope. The bar is extraordinarily low. We're all like dogs begging their owner for scraps. They almost never come, once in a while Bill decides to give us something. It's not great, it's not meat, but once in a while he drops a single raw, baby carrot on the floor which is just barely better than the dog food we're used to. When he does the media will eat it up like filet mignon. So as long as this has one or two big stories it's going to legendary.
I'm really hoping both of these guys break out of their football guy shells to give fans some real insight. I want to go inside two of the greatest football minds ever. I love Mindhunter. I want to see how the sausage was made, not some canned answers with a few nuggets diehard fans have never heard before.
Whether you love or hate the man, there's no denying Bill Belichick, at the very least is one of the most interesting people of all time. This is his documentary. I'm completely speculating here, I wouldn't be surprised including Saban was a ploy just to get access with Bill. I don't know if he would've trusted HBO if it was just him. Kinda like how he did the two Bills with Parcells on ESPN. Bill is one of the greatest coaches of all time; regardless of the sports. On top of that he makes all his own clothes, knows his way around a lax spoon, owns his boat that he constantly changes the name of despite it being well-documented bad luck and murdered Freddie Mitchell in cold blood.
With a trailer under a minute long we don't get too much from the 90 minute doc so there is plenty to speculate even though the NFL.com write up goes into greater detail. You'd have to actually read that to know what it says though.
Sadly, I don't expect HBO to touch on all the topics Pats fans have been dying to know Bill's inner truth since he has to share the screen with Saban. I'm sure a large part will be on their relationship, plus both coaches are active with no signs of slowing down, so there's still a certain level of secrecy. As long as Belichick doesn't pull a Bear Bryant and immediately die after he retires I'm sure one day as a historian of the game his stories will be told, but until then these are the Top 10 topics I hope Bill Belichick candidly discusses in "Belichick & Saban"
Why did you cut Tim Tebow but keep Ryan Mallett in 2013?
Does playoff success mean nothing to you? Plus you could've had Taysom Hill like 5 years early.
Why did you run a fake punt with Pat Chung in the playoffs?
One of the dumber decisions I've seen during my time as a Patriots fan. I feel like it's been somewhat forgotten with time, but it's one of those moments as a fan I'll never forget. 2010 Divisional Round. 4th and 4 on their own 38 with 1:17 left in the first half trailing 7-3. Pat Chung fumbles the snap on a fake punt. Turnover on downs. Jets score a TD a few plays later and its' 14-3 going into half. Totally changed the game. You know he's a safety right? Did you disrespect the Jets that much after 45-3?
What is your favorite non-S.B. win with the Patriots?
Kind of a lame question but I'm genuinely curious to hear what Bill Belichick would say is his favorite. Wouldn't be shocked if he didn't have one.
Who is the most overrated player you've faced as a Head Coach?
Throw some shade one time for me. It's been 15 years since Freddie.
Do you agree both Steelers Super Bowl wins of the 2000's deserve an asterisk since in 2005 they didn't play you in the playoffs and in 2008 Brady was hurt?
I'm sure he'd agree and mention that in 2010 they got to play the Jets at home instead of the Pats at the razor in the AFCCG.
10. What Unheralded Players of this Generation Does He Have the Most Admiration For?
The way this is worded would surely piss Belichick off, as he would never disrespect another team's players (with the exception of FredEx) by referring to someone as unheralded but this is a question that fascinates me. Most Patriots fans know about his love and respect for Ed Reed and other players of his caliber (there aren't a ton) but I'd love to hear his opinions on the bottom of the roster guys. The glue guys, the special teamers. The type of players Belichick fucking loves and wishes his entire was made up of. What random guys that most football fans have forgotten did Belichick truly appreciate and respect as a football player. One thing that has made Bill Belichick so successful is his ability to get the most out of players nobody believed in. Tom Brady, Julien Edelman, Darrelle Revis etc. I'd love to see what players he coached against would make this list. Imagine if Bill Belichick just went out and said he could've turned Quintin Demps into a Hall of Famer or something like that?
9. Biggest Draft Regret(s)
The draft is far from a perfect science. There are first round busts every year. Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Luck. The list goes on. There are countless examples. The stats about guys making it to a second contract are insane, it's like < 30% of players. Even the greatest coach of all time isn't immune to drafting blunders. Granted he's drafted many more times than the average GM due to his longevity, usually at the bottom of the draft, but Belichick has a staggering amount of bad picks over the years. It almost makes this run more impressive when you think he took Aaron Dobson over Keenan Allen, Jordan Richards in the 3rd, Tavon Wilson in the 2nd. Which one makes him lose the most sleep at night? My money is on Ras'i Dowling.
8. Aaron Hernandez Saga
I don't think I need to dive that deep here. If you are reading this and were born after 2012 Aaron Hernandez was a Pro Bowl caliber Tight End/murderer who played three years under Belichick. During their time together the Patriots went 39-9 in the regular season. Aaron even scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI. Bill's truth on everything that transpired during his tenure with the Patriots up until his death in 2017 would be must watch/listen/read. What was Bill's relationship with him really like? On a scale of 1 to 10 how surprised was he? Do you think it's above a 6? because I don't.
7. What the Fuck Does Ernie Adams Actually Do?
Patriot fans know Ernie Adams is Bill's right hand man and one of his closest friends. After that your guess is as good as mine. I know he's very integral to the operation, I'd just like to know how. I want to be able to fully pay my respect should I ever run into him. It's much easier with players and coaches across all sports to do this. Whenever you casually run into professional athletes like we all do you can be like "thanks for hitting that home run, David (Ortiz)" or "I'll never forget when you threw 4 touchdowns against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, Tom (Brady)". You can't do that if you ever see Ernie. You can say thanks but he's not gonna know for what. This is a guy who just shows up to work and does his job. The idea of praise for it would never ever begin to enter his skull.
Of all the things on this list this is hands down the least likely Belichick would explain. I'd settle for the meaning of Pink Stripes.
6. Biggest Personnel Mistake
This is kind of the cousin of #9 but still an answer I think most Patriot fans are dying to know. Belichick's history of moving on from stars a year earlier is about as well documented as the American Revolution. The shocking release/trades of Lawyer Milloy, Logan Mankins, and Jamie Collins all indirectly lead to Super Bowl wins but is there one move he made/wishes he did that he believes cost him a championship?
What does he think happens to those teams if they don't move on from the aforementioned players?
5. How Much of Tom Brady's Success is because of You?/How Much of Your Success is because of Him?
Footballs chicken or the egg. Who is more responsible for the dynasty? It's not exactly the easiest topic to talk about but I'm dying to know Bill's honest opinion on the matter. He's a historian of the game. I feel like he's at a level of intelligence where he can completely separate himself from the situation and give an unbiased answer. Despite their 20 years together you don't see Belichick overly praise Brady too often. He wrote off Brady's performance with a slashed up throwing hand in the 2017 AFCCG saying it wasn't exactly open heart surgery.
I'm sure he gets great pleasure out of going 11-5 without him in 2008, while at the same time knows without Brady he likely hasn't lasted this long in Foxboro. You know these guys are uber-competitive. This may be something he goes into great depth post-coaching or never even come close to talking about.
4. What Was Really Going Through Your Mind After The Kearse Catch?
Bill Belichick does not think like you and I do. He didn't use his timeouts after the Kearse catch, instead he let the Seahawks panic and we all know what happened next.
At the podium he said he never doubted that this team would win another Super Bowl. I was not in the same camp. Just for once I want to hear a human answer out of Bill. He's touched on this in the past but I'd like more.
I'm sure Bill was aware of the circumstances around this game and that the Patriots hadn't won a Super Bowl since the 2004 season. The countless bad breaks. How their two previous Super Bowl defeats were highlighted by all time, "how the hell did that just happen?" plays in the helmet and Manningham catches respectively. The Manningham play was just an all-time throw and catch, you have to tip your cap. At the same time there had to be some "you've gotta be fucking kidding me" in Bill's brain at least a little after the Kearse catch.
What transpired was one of the greatest calls ever, t(he)y baited the Seahawks into throwing the ball and it led to one of the most unforgettable plays in Super Bowl history. To go into his mind and understand know exactly what lead to (at the time) the Patriots most exciting Super Bowl victory would be sicccc.
3. Why Didn't Malcolm Butler Play Defense in Super Bowl LII?
I was quite upset in the weeks after this decision that still hasn't gotten a legitimate answer. I got blocked on instagram by Linda Holliday over my frustration. My bad. I'll always say Belichick is the greatest coach of all time, but to me this is hands down his biggest blunder. To make no halftime adjustment, and keep trotting out BUMS when you have a former all-pro, Super Bowl hero wasting away on the bench will never make sense to me.
Winning the Super Bowl the next year definitely took a little bit of the sting away, but I will go to my grave believing Patriot fans (and people in general) deserve to know the truth. What lesson was more important than winning a Super Bowl?
2. So What's Really Up With the -gates?
I just want to hear from the horse's mouth how asinine both witch hunts were. Or maybe he's like fuck yeah I filmed signs and so do literally everybody else in the league at the same time.
1. Literally Everything About Super Bowl 42
February 3rd, 2008 was one of the worst days of my entire life. It's the line of demarcation in my life as a fan. I was never the same again.
While time heals all wounds (allegedly) the scar from 18-1 is still tender. I'm at a point in my life where I can have discussions about the game.
As a historian of the game and former Giants assistant did he see shades of Super Bowl XXV as the Giants took 10 minutes off the clock of their first drive? Why couldn't they stop the Giants defensive line? Why the fuck did they go for it on 4th in 13 coming out of the second half instead of kicking a like 45 yard field goal? What did you say to the team after the game? Would you trade a different Super Bowl (or more) to have this win? Is Junior Seau still alive today if you win this game? How much did the dropped INT play into letting Asante Samuel walk? How much better could this team of been with an NFL caliber running back? What should the ultimate legacy of this team be? I could go on for hours and have already gone on long enough. I'm sure I'm forgetting some great questions so feel free to talk shit in the comments and tell me what I forgot.