Collecting Patriots Coach Bill Belichick
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By David Lee | Beckett Football Editor
Starting your NFL head coaching career with the Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s isn’t exactly an ideal situation. But Bill Belichick took his first head coach position with the lowly Browns in 1991 and led the team for five years. They posted a losing record of 36-44.
Five years later he landed with the New England Patriots, ironically taking over the coaching duties from current Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who Belichick faces next Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIV. That same year, he drafted a skinny kid out of Michigan in the sixth round. It was the greatest coaching move he ever made. A year later Belichick and Tom Brady won the Super Bowl and would win two more in the next three years to become the NFL’s next dynasty.
In 15 seasons with the Patriots, Belichick has amassed an incredible .729 winning percentage, led the team to nine AFC Championship games and will coach his sixth Super Bowl next week. He also led the team to a historical 16-0 undefeated regular season in 2007 before losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl. And he’s done it all by putting together some of the most unlikely teams. In fact, of his three championship teams, just four total offensive players were named to Pro Bowls during those years combined. The franchise has been the envy of the NFL with their ability to consistently draft well and find talent in later rounds. They are perhaps the most well-managed team of the last 15 years.
However, his success hasn’t been without some controversy. In the record-setting 2007 season, the NFL disciplined the Patriots for videotaping the New York Jets’ coaches’ signals on the sideline. Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team lost their original 2008 first-round pick for what was dubbed “Spygate.” Just last week in their 45-7 win over the Colts in the AFC Championship, it was discovered the Patriots played with several underinflated footballs, which is against NFL rules since it makes the balls easier to grip and catch. Belichick and Brady have denied any knowledge of the incident, which, of course, has been dubbed “Deflategate.” No disciplinary action has been decided as of yet, but softer footballs certainly didn’t keep the Colts from scoring more than seven points or losing by 38.
The man in command on the sideline wearing the familiar hoodie and scowl has just 29 cards and hasn’t had one produced in five years. Here’s a glance at his hobby profile:
Bill Belichick Cardboard Profile (click for checklist/OPG)
Total Cards: 29
1991 Pro Set #126 CO RC ($1.50)
1991 Pro Line Portraits #115 CO RC ($1.50)
At just $1.50 each, Belichick’s two Rookie Cards are easy pick-ups with large print runs. Lots of coaches cards were made in these products.
Autographed Card Price Guide
1991 Pro Line Portraits Autographs #17 CO ($120)
2004 Donruss Classics Sideline Generals Autographs #SG2 Bill Walsh/Bill Belichick ($400)
2004 Fleer Authentix #136 Cedric Cobbs RC/Bill Belichick AU ($80)
2004 Fleer Authentix Balcony Blue #136 Cedric Cobbs/Bill Belichick AU ($100)
2004 Fleer Authentix Club Box Gold #136 Cedric Cobbs/Bill Belichick AU ($150)
2004 Fleer Authentix General Admission Green #136 Cedric Cobbs/Bill Belichick AU ($100)
2004 Fleer Authentix Mezzanine Bronze #136 Cedric Cobbs/Bill Belichick AU ($120)
2004 Fleer Authentix Standing Room Only Purple #136 Cedric Cobbs/Bill Belichick AU ($250)
2004 Playoff Prime Signatures Prime Cuts Autographs #56 ($N/A)
2004 Playoff Prime Signatures Signature Proofs Bronze #56 /125 ($120)
2004 Playoff Prime Signatures Signature Proofs Gold #56 /45 ($200)
2004 Playoff Prime Signatures Signature Proofs Silver #56 /99 ($175)
2004 Topps Ring of Honor Coaches’ Cuts #BB
2004 Topps Ring of Honor Coaches’ Cuts #BB2
2009 Upper Deck Prominent Cuts Cut Signatures #PCBILL /1
The 1991 Pro Line Portraits Autographs is a must-have if you call yourself a Belichick collector. It’s not hard to find and is his only autographed card in the 1990s. He didn’t have another autograph issue until 2004 after the Patriots won two titles. Ten of these cards are parallels from just two different products. The 2004 Donruss Classics Sideline Generals Autographs is a really cool card pairing him with Bill Walsh—the most successful coach of the 1980s. One recently sold online for $315. So, there is less variety out there than it seems. If the Patriots win and Belichick claims his fourth title, expect the card companies to jump on the window and reach a deal to produce more autographed cards.