In 2017, Bill Belichick revealed to CNBC that just one sign hangs inside the New England Patriots’ locker room.
It’s a quote from The Art of War, the ancient Chinese military treatise penned by Sun Tzu well over 2,000 years ago.
The sign simply reads:
“Every battle is won before it is fought.”
The text has been credited with having a significant impact on Belichick’s coaching style, and in a recent appearance on the NFL Network, the six-time Super Bowl champion revealed that the crux of his coaching philosophy comes from Sun Tzu.
“You can go all the way back to a few hundred years B.C., Sun Tzu, ‘The Art of War’. Attack weaknesses, utilize strengths. Figure out what the strengths are on your team. There are some things you have to protect. Find the weaknesses of your opponent and attack. You can’t win a war by digging a hole. You gotta attack. You have to figure out where you want to attack, how you want to attack and that changes week to week and game to game,” Belichick says.
Considering Belichick’s father, Steve Belichick, coached at the United States Naval Academy for 34 years, it’s not surprising Bill would find inspiration in a military text. Steve also cultivated an extraordinary library of historical football books, so a young Bill’s view of the games was also influenced by names like Knute Rockne, Vince Lombardi and Walter Camp.
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