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Super Bowl-winning legend Bill Belichick is often questioned about the New York Giants during press conferences for upcoming clashes.
But like a broken record, his response never changes that often due to the respect that he has for the franchise.
He is still keen to emphasise that they are one of the best franchises in the NFL and such a significant part of the sport growing around the world.
He believes that his memories there are so extensive that he should even consider writing a book about the topic to share his stories with the fans of both his current side and his past one.
The Patriots are due to host the Giants on Thursday evening, but as it’s the 100th season of the NFL, Belichick decided to give a more extensive answer to reporters that were asking him about his days at the Giants.
His response to the questions about the Giants wouldn’t have come as much of a shock to those that watched a documentary following his life in 2009.
Beginning to talk about his experiences at the Giants, he said: “I probably wouldn’t have thought it would turn out like this. Was just trying to establish my coaching career. Win some games. We won a lot of them here. This is a great organization. It’s hard not to get choked up about it. I loved it here. I loved it here.”
When asked why he belives they are royalty, he said: “Of course, the Mara family — single ownership. They’ve certainly been through all the phases of the league, and not only have done things very professionally and for the good of the game on the field but present everything well off the field as well — their family and their organization and just the way they do things.
“So that’s a storied franchise, and it goes way, way back. I was very, very fortunate to be a part of that great organization for 12 years and I learned a lot there from so many people, some who are still there, most of whom aren’t. But they put together a tremendous group there in the ’80s, starting with Coach [Ray] Perkins, so I was very fortunate to be a part of that.”
Occasionally, Belichick will bring up that part of his coaching career with Patriots players.
“As far as when we install things defensively, sometimes we’ll see a clip from some of those Giants teams. You talk about rushing the edge and seeing L.T. or playing physical in the secondary, jamming receivers and seeing some of the things they were able to do,” veteran safety and long-time Pats captain Devin McCourty said.
“Obviously, rules change and all of that, but just understanding how they played the game and how they played some of the defences we still play today.
“You learn something everywhere. You learn something every day. Learn something every year. So Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, but the Giants, that’s really where I learned so much about really everything,” Belichick said. “Special-teams coach. Defensive coach. Defensive coordinator. Got more involved in scouting.”
There will be no room for sentiment for the Patriots on Thursday however, and the bookmakers make them overwhelming favourites (-17 @ 5Dimes) to record a win over the Giants on what is sure to be an emotional night for the coach.
The Patriots eyes are firmly on the Super Bowl prize, and they are already the heavy favourites to reclaim that honour after starting the season well.