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Bill Belichick: Patriots' Revenue Killer?

Wednesday, 26 Dec 2007 | 7:07 PM ET
Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick has been called a lot of things: Defensive wizard. Boring. Alleged cheater.

But today, we're giving the NFL coach a new nickname: Revenue Killer.

Why?

Well, if his New England Patriots beat the New York Giants on Saturday night, they'll finish the season undefeated and they'll keep alive the chance to become the first team to have an undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins -- the only other team to accomplish that feat.

In the process, the fabulous money maker that has been the 1972 Dolphins gravy train will slow down.

You see, guys like Mercury Morris, Garo Yepremian and Earl Morrall make more every year off 1972 Dolphins stuff ($25,000 to $75,000) than they made when they played for Miami that year.

Hall of Fame players on that team -- Paul Warfield, Nick Buoniconti, Bob Griese and Larry Czonka can clear as much as $150,000 a year, according to one insider. And Don Shula still rings the register, making about $500,000 in signings and appearances.

The insider, who asked not to be identified since he says he has done deals with these guys, says that if the Pats run the table, the non-Hall of Famers will see their rate impacted by about 50 percent with the HOFers and Shula feeling less of an impact.

It makes sense. The Dolphins "Undefeated" signed helmets, which once went for $2,500 apiece, are now selling for $1,000 consistently on eBay.

While things could turn bad for the '72 Dolphins, Jeff Rosenberg of Tri-Star Productions says he isn't worried. His company is scheduled to have the big 1972 Dolphins names at a signing in Houston two weeks before the Super Bowl.

"Technically this record can never be broken, it can only be tied," Rosenberg said. "And the bottom line is everyone's talking about them right now because of what the Patriots are doing."

So who are the big beneficiaries if the Pats run the table?

The obvious names are Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Belichick and Laurence Maroney. But the biggest winner could be Wes Welker, a guy who isn't a huge star, but is having a big year with the team. No item can really be considered an "undefeated" item without his name, which means he can sell his name for top dollar.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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