ATLANTA – Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Monday paid homage to former Giants coach Bill Parcells, who had Belichick as his defensive coordinator for the Giants’ Super Bowl victories after the 1986 and 1990 seasons.
“[Parcells] gave me insight into things that as an assistant coach, you don’t get to see,” Belichick said at Super Bowl Opening Night at State Farm Arena. “He let me know what things are about, and he was helpful in doing that.”
Belichick credited Parcells with introducing him to the defensive alignment that the Patriots have used through most of their 18 seasons as a Super Bowl-contending team.
“Obviously, Bill was a great defensive coach,” Belichick said. “He taught me the 3-4 defense that we used at the Giants and that, fundamentally, we’ve used [with the Patriots]. He has been a great friend and a great mentor, and I’m proud to have coached for him. I learned a lot from him.”
Belichick had the advantage of coaching Lawrence Taylor, arguably the greatest defensive player of all time, during his run with the Giants. He was asked Monday if Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald compares favorably with Taylor.
“Aaron Donald is a great football player, but I wouldn’t put anybody ahead of Lawrence Taylor,” Belichick said. “Lawrence did it all and did it all for 13 years, and he dominated games, similar to the way Donald does. But I can’t put anybody ahead of Taylor. Taylor’s the best I’ve ever seen, certainly the best I’ve ever coached. I just wouldn’t put anybody ahead of him.”
Belichick reminisced about his first Super Bowl victory as the Giants’ defensive coordinator, a 39-20 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI at the Rose Bowl.
“That was a game that didn’t come down to the final play or final possession,” Belichick said. “Pretty much all the rest of them have. This is such a competitive game. That’s what we’re expecting on Sunday, a game that will come right down to the final play or the final possession, like most all of them do. That was a great experience for me in Pasadena, to be able to win my first as a defensive coordinator against a great Denver Broncos team with John Elway.”