Legendary NFL coach Bill Belichick ended his 24-year tenure as head coach of the New England Patriots by invoking the name of former NFL star Tim Tebow.
The media frenzy at the time was completely insane and was referenced by Belichick during his final moments with the franchise he built into a perennial powerhouse.
Belichick spoke at a joint news conference at noon ET on Thursday alongside Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
The two of them, the coach said, had made a mutual decision that the Patriots needed new leadership. Belichick was clear he is not retiring.
But after earning six Super Bowl rings while leading the Patriots and after coaching some of the best professional athletes over the last two decades, Tebow came to mind as Belichick opened the conference.
“Hi, morning,” Belichick said as he addressed a room full of reporters.
He then joked, “Haven’t seen this many cameras since we signed Tebow.”
“Haven’t seen this many cameras since we signed Tebow.”
– Bill Belichick in his final Patriots press conference pic.twitter.com/AbmoA4esig
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 11, 2024
Belichick added that the day for him was one of “gratitude and celebration.”
Still, it is interesting that the most iconic coach of the modern era invoked the name of Tebow — a player he cut before the 2013 regular season started — especially given all the attention Patriots players have received over the years.
Not only did Belichick coach six Super Bowl-winning teams, but the day he referenced — June 10, 2013 — was followed two weeks later by the arrest of then-Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Tebow’s signing and Hernandez’s double life each brought hordes of reporters to the Patriots facilities during the same month.
A look back at the reaction to both incidents reminds us just how much attention the Patriots received under Belichick’s tenure:
It’s safe to say few coaches have seen more cameras than the Patriots’ notoriously stoic head coach.
The fact that Tebow came to Belichick’s mind as he announced the end of a historic era in professional sports is a testament to the former quarterback’s influence during his brief professional career.
He did it all with class, grace and as a steward for Christ.
More than a decade after he was signed and cut by the Patriots, Belichick put Tebow’s name back into the news cycle.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.