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Patriots Coach Bill Belichick: Forever a Villain?

May 19, 2008 – 9:19 AM
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Michael David Smith

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick appears to be in the clear, as far as the NFL is concerned, on Spygate. He's been docked $500,000 out of his own pocket and the team lost a first-round draft pick, but Commissioner Roger Goodell has indicated that those punishments will be the end of it.

But is Belichick's reputation forever tarnished? Based on things I've read by three influential writers in the last three days, I'd have to say that it is.

FanHouse's Mark Hasty previously mentioned a column by Gregg Easterbrook that suggested Belichick should be suspended. And today we have Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe coming down hard on Belichick.

King writes that Spygate "will taint the legacy of one of the great coaches of all time." And Ryan writes, "As long as Bill Belichick is the coach of the New England Patriots, America will despise this team."

I think Belichick will coach several more years, the Patriots will be a good or great team for most of the rest of his career, and some of those opinions will soften. But Belichick will forever be seen as a villain by a large portion of America's football fans, and there is probably nothing he can do about that.
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