PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The prospect of facing Bill Belichick can be intimidating for an NFL coaching staff. The Eagles’ staff will be facing Belichick in the biggest game of the year.
As the Eagles prepare to take on the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the coaches will try to outwit the man who many believe is the greatest ever to stalk the sidelines.
Belichick is 5-2 as a head coach in Super Bowls and was also part of two championships as a defensive coordinator with the Giants.
Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwatz credits Belichick for giving him his start in the NFL, but does not believe that will be on the minds of his players when they take the field in Minneapolis.
“I owe a lot to Bill Belichick,” said Schwartz. “He got my career started. The first three years of my NFL career were with him in Cleveland. That’s the last thing that we’ll be thinking about in preparation and that’s the last thing that any of these players. Do you think any of our players care that in 1993 I got hired as an unpaid intern? They are just going out and playing.”
Head Coach Doug Pederson admits there is a respectful envy of the Patriots around the league because of their success. Pederson also had great respect for Belichick, but wants his team to block out any talk about facing the daunting task of dethroning the powerful Patriots.
“It’s impressive,” Pederson said. “It’s well-respected and well-documented. At the same time, we’re just going to prepare the same and try to block out all the noise. There’s going to be a lot written to probably both extremes but, again, our guys have been resilient. They’ve been able to block that noise out. Once the ball is teed up and kicked off, just trust our players, trust our schemes, and play football.”
The Eagles Defense will be facing the top offense in the NFL, but the Eagles Offense will face a New England unit ranked 29th in the league during the season. Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich believes spreading the ball around on offense has worked throughout the season, and there is no reason to change that philosophy in the Super Bowl.
“Obviously they are a very well-coached team,” said Reich. “I coached in Indianapolis for a few years and we had a lot of offensive weapons, so I’ve seen different ways of how they will try to take players away and they are very good at it. I think the unique thing about our offense is, we spread the ball around.”
Reich understands how impressive Belichick’s record is over the years in big games, but Reich has made it clear they won’t be intimidated by anyone.
“I have an immense amount of respect for him and his staff and what he’s done and what they have accomplished,” Reich said. “We all know how hard that is but we respect everybody, we don’t fear anybody. We like our players. We like our staff and how we are going to game plan as well, so we look forward to the challenge.”
For Schartz, nothing will change no matter who is on the other sideline.
“We get ready for a game,” said Schwartz. “We’re getting ready for the players that are on the field, so I think that doesn’t change regardless of which team you’re playing.”