Mary Kay Cabot, of The Plain Dealer, has a great story about what it was like covering Bill Belichick football coach before he was Bill Belichick Living Legend. Spoiler alert: he was basically the same.
There was the time Ed Meyer from the Akron Beacon Journal tried to get to the bottom of why Belichick replaced the outdoor fields in Berea at a cost of about $500,000.
Supposedly, the fields had been flooding and couldn't be used for days.
Meyer asked Belichick, "What happens to the fields when it rains?"
Belichick paused for a moment and replied, "They get wet."
Cabot relays several other anecdotes about Belichick that show, at one point, he may have even been human. "On [a draft-related] trip, I saw a different Belichick than the stone-face that greeted us at news conferences. He blared some headbanging rock in the car and stopped at his favorite barber for a haircut. He seemed just like a normal guy." A normal guy who "once stuffed a $100 bill into the ashtray of [Scott] Pioli's car after he drove Belichick to the airport."
The whole article is worth a read for a rare glimpse inside the Belichick myth while showing just how much he has influenced football.
While Belichick was busy clashing with the media, he was also assembling an amazing staff that would go on to become a who's who of pro and college sports. He hired young guys who shared his passion for football and let them do their jobs. They included guys such as Scott Pioli, who went from van driver in Cleveland to general manager of the Patriots and Chiefs. It included Phil Savage, Mike Tannenbaum and Ozzie Newsome, who all went on to become NFL general managers. It included Jim Schwartz, Nick Saban and Mangini, who would go on to become head coaches in the NFL, and Kirk Ferentz and Pat Hill, who would become college head coaches.