Bill Belichick No Stranger to City of Brotherly Love

Ed Kracz

Steve Belichick spent 33 years coaching football at the Naval Academy when his son, Bill, was growing up as a standout athlete at Annapolis High School.

Every Thanksgiving weekend, Steve and his only child, Bill, would head to Philadelphia for the traditional gridiron battle between Army and Navy, back when Army-Navy was played on the holiday weekend.

“I personally have always had a real affection for the city of Philadelphia,” said Belichick. “I grew up there going to all the Army-Navy games, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We’d get up there on Black Friday, and see all the shoppers out there, how busy it was there at Broad Street and the square, Wanamaker’s (department store), Bellevue-Stratford (hotel). There are really a lot of great memories from my childhood growing up on those weekends in Philadelphia.”

Belichick will return to Philly on Sunday when he brings the Patriots to Lincoln Financial Field to meet the Eagles for a 4:25 p.m. contest. He spoke to Eagles media via conference call on Tuesday morning.

It’s a rare trip in for the Patriots since the two teams are in different conferences.

The last time was Nov. 27, 2011, when the Patriots rode three touchdown passes and 361 yards passing from Tom Brady to a 38-20 win against the Eagles and their quarterback Vince Young, who threw for 400 yards in that loss.

In the all-time series, the Eagles are 7-5 against the Patriots and 1-3 against Brady in the regular season.

The two teams are 1-1 against each other in two Super Bowl meetings, with the Eagles getting a 41-33 win in Super Bowl LII two years ago and losing 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

“I think we talked about that game at length, ad nauseam,” said Belichick referring to Super Bowl LII, which was the last meeting between the teams. “That game was a long time ago, so we’ll get ready for this game and see how it goes.”

The Eagles watched that Super Bowl tape during their bye week as a resource, even though the teams’ rosters have turned over quite a bit since then. Belichick, who has won six Super Bowl titles since taking over in New England back in January of 2000, wasn’t admitting to doing the same thing.

Asked if he and his staff re-watched that Super Bowl, he said: “Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of film on the Eagles.”

The follow-up question was if he and his staff had watched that Super Bowl in particular and Belichick gave the same response: “Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of film on the Eagles.”

Belichick used to come to Philadelphia more often as an assistant coach, having spent 12 seasons as an assistant with the NFC East rival New York Giants from 1979-1990 before going to the Cleveland Browns from 1991-95.

“They’re always a very competitive team,” said Belichick about the Eagles. “(Owner) Jeff Lurie and his family have done a great job with that franchise. They’ve been very competitive through the years going back to Dick (Vermeil) and Buddy (Ryan) and obviously Andy (Reid) now (Doug) Pederson’s really an Andy disciple.

“They’re a good defensive team as well, going back to Marion Campbell, when he was there with Dick and obviously the Buddy Ryan years, now (defensive coordinator) Jim Schwartz, so they’ve always been a tough team to deal with. Fans are passionate. It’s a great environment.”

Belichick has been around a long time and is smart enough to know he won’t have many friends when he returns to the City of Brotherly on Sunday.

“Always got a real nice, warm reception from the fans,” said Belichick. “I’m sure that’ll continue.”