CNBC Excerpts: CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch Speaks Exclusively with New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick


Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch where he discussed his career, family, leadership style, Super Bowl wins and his relationship with Tom Brady, among other topics. Following is a link to the extended interview on Additional articles written by Welch can be found on CNBC's Make It.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

Belichick on Football:

Suzy Welch: Let's talk about the Super Bowl for a second it has been two months and it was amazing are you still processing it?

Bill Belichick:Yes I have to go back to it and watch every once in a while just to make sure that it came out just the way I remember it.

Welch: Was there any point where you thought you weren't going to win?

Belichick: It was funny it was one of those games where we didn't have control of the score but I didn't feel like we had lost control of the game. We could move the ball, we were able to stop them on third down. We were able to do things but the scoreboard was very much against us. You know it all fell in place for us at the end which it had to if one thing had gone wrong we would have probably come up short.

Welch: What did it feel like?

Belichick: Close to a miracle I mean we had one of those great catches go in our favor and we've seen them go another way in other games so that was kind of a miracle.

Welch: What's fascinating about your job and what the world watches you do is you make decisions and have plays before the game but then you get out there on the field and the entire game is making decision after decision after decision in the moment I mean this is sort of leadership on steroids.

Belichick: That's the way it is in football. You have a game plan you go into the game my job as a coach is to make good decisions it is not to go out there and block or tackle thank God. That wouldn't be very good. You take information calculate it, put it through some kind of process and figure out what's the next thing to do. That happens really from the first play of the game. People talk about halftime decisions and all that but really at halftime the game is two thirds over because the fourth quarter is really situational football so you have to start figuring out way before then and that's what we try to do is start to make those end game adjustments as soon as we can see the game has started to declare a certain way.

Welch: You've had a long and unbelievable partnership with Tom Brady what are your thoughts on him?

Belichick: Really special player to coach. Tom works very hard he is very smart, he's trained hard, he's worked hard on his throwing mechanics, he's worked hard on his mental understanding of the game and process. He's earned everything that he has achieved, but wasn't always there he's not a great natural athlete. He is a very smart, instinctive football player.

Welch: But he may end up being the greatest of all time

Belichick: Yeah absolutely. It isn't all about talent. It is about dependability, consistency and being able to approve. And again if you work hard and you are coachable and you understand what you need to do you can improve.

Welch: You've been called the chief economist of football. You were the person that found the financial value of undervalued players it is considered one of your great skills. You always had incredible financial discipline as a coach

Belichick: Right but none of us got into football to be a professional football player, none of us got into professional football to be a professional coach or to manage a CAP or to manage a team. All of us that got into football got into football because of the game because we love to go to practice we loved to play the game when we were 8,9,10 years old.

Welch: It is hard to even think about your story without thinking about your dad although he was never the head coach at Anapolis he was an assistant coach he was enormously respected he wrote a book about football. Your dad taught you a ton about football but what did your dad teach you about life?

Belichick: You know I learned a lot from my dad. He was the youngest of five, grew up in kind of a poor environment. His big break really was football, worked his way through college, lived in the gym in a closet, Summer jobs and all that. Made a career out of football and ultimately ended up here at the Naval Academy where I think he was destined to be because he loved his country and the quality of people that come here because of their toughness, their work ethic and their devotion to their country and their duty and so that's what he is really about or what he was about and so many of those lessons I learned either from him or from my association with the academy or from my association with the people of the Naval Academy which represented those same values.

Welch: I've heard you say it is not what you know it's who you know.

Belichick: So true. Yeah, so true. In life it is so much the opportunities you get from people that you know. The opportunities those relationships get you as opposed to what's in a book or what you studied.

Welch: You have three children and they are following in your footsteps two of your boys are working with the Patriots organization now your daughter is the coach of Holy Cross the women's lacrosse coach how do you feel about them going into the same world you were in?

Belichick: You know I told them kind of the same thing my dad told me which is follow your heart if there's something you love and that's your passion when you are young do it and let everything else take care of itself. Don't do it for money or some other motivation do it because it is what you want to do.

Welch: Do you foresee yourself coaching for the indefinite future retirement does not beckon apparently?

Belichick: Again I am kind of short sided here so I'm good certainly good here this year, good for a while I like what I am doing I enjoy all parts of the game the team building, training camp, game days, the excitement of Sunday.

Welch: So it is still fun?

Belichick: Yeah it really is, it beats working.

Belichick on Leadership:

Suzy Welch: If you had to describe the tenants or the principles of your leadership style or approach, what would they be?

Bill Belichick: Four things that we look at every day when we walk into the building. Do your job, be attentive, pay attention to details, team has to come first. Even though we all have individual goals and preferences. We don't talk about last year, we don't talk about next week, we don't talk about next year. We talk about today and we talk about the next game. And that is all we can really control. The rest will take care of itself.

Suzy Welch: What would you call your most defining moments of your career where you learned the most?

Bill Belichick: Well, where I probably learned the most was my first year in 1975 because I took a job – was given a job with the Colts. And I didn't have any experience and they were very understaffed. I wasn't getting paid anything. But I had a lot of responsibility for that position and so I was able to learn a lot. It was like having two or three graduate courses in one year. After that year, when I went to Detroit, we were 1-4. We were playing the Patriots who were 4-1. They had a great team. And I went back to an experience I had in Baltimore and I kind of talked to our offensive coordinator at that time and said, "look, I know we haven't ever used this formation, but, you know, I studied this formation when I was at Baltimore last year, I think this is really going to give the Patriots a problem. Can we take a look at this?" So we went through it, we looked at it, we used it. And you know, we won the game by three touchdowns. It was a huge upset. That was kind of one of those where I'm like, ok, I can coach in this league.

Suzy Welch: What did you take away from that?

Bill Belichick: Don't be afraid to use a good idea just because it is unconventional, just because somebody else hasn't done it. If you believe in it and it is a good idea, then, you know, don't be afraid to use it. So, fast forward, I take the job with the Patriots in 2000. The first meeting we have in the Spring – this is back in the old Foxborough stadium so it is kind of a small room. We are squeezing the whole team in there. And here comes in the guy who's first round draft pick from a prior year walks into the front of the meeting – not into the back, walks into the front and kind of sits down. And I've already started the meeting. I'm three or four minutes into it. And you know, I just look at him like, what are you doing? And he said, you know, "sorry coach." Like, sorry? Just get out of here. We are not going to start this program off with you walking in whenever you feel like walking in. I don't care if the guy is the number one draft choice or not the number one draft choice. You know, we're just not going to run a team like this.

Suzy Welch: Alright, now let's talk about mistakes. Ok? Leadership mistakes. Your career mistakes. Any stick out?

Bill Belichick: After every game, I look at the mistakes that were made in that game by me, by the coaching staff. And you know, we need to address those and correct those. Good players can't overcome bad coaching. It is impossible. On a personal level, I'd say the one thing that I have definitely learned is you've got to count on your most dependable people. Might not be your most talented person, but you count on your most dependable people. So, there have been times when I have put, I would say, too much responsibility on people that weren't dependable and they didn't come through. And so, whose fault is that? Mine. When you are the head coach, you can only do so many details. And I'd say, at times, I was too detail-oriented in some of the tasks I was on and didn't have enough breadth or give enough leadership in other areas. I mean, look, every team has young players and they have wives and girlfriends and they have babies and they have parents that are sick. All of that, somewhere or other, you know, all runs in together. So the more you can handle those, the more that you can help take care of those as an organization, as a head coach, then, you know, the smoother the ship runs on the football end.

Suzy Welch: Well, you are the subject of fascination. And yet, you are still sort of an enigma to the world, right? I mean, you have been described as everything from the greatest coach who has ever lived to a person who is obsessed with film. And I know you don't listen to it, but you know it is out there. But if you were to describe yourself, what words would you use?

Bill Belichick: I think I know a little bit about competition, I think I know a little bit about leadership, and I think I know a little bit about team building. And I think I know a little bit about football. I can handle football from a coaching standpoint, from an X's and O's standpoint.

Suzy Welch: Your dad was one of the most respected college coaches. You started looking at film with him when you were seven or nine. You started going on scouting trips with him when you were a pre-teen. You sort of semi-coached your high school team. Was football a calling to you?

Bill Belichick: Yeah. Absolutely. I learned coaching at an early age. How coaches think, how coaches, you know – what bothers them, what doesn't bother them. And there is a lot of coaching styles. You figure out what works for you. In the end, I think to me, in business or in life there is a – just like, figure it out. You have a problem, whatever it is, there is a solution somewhere. You just have to figure out what it is.

Suzy Welch: I want to play a little word association game. Ok?

Bill Belichick: Ok.

Suzy Welch: I'm going to say a word and I just want your immediate, snap reaction. Ok?

Bill Belichick: Sure.

Suzy Welch: Football.

Bill Belichick: More sport than business. But it is a business. That I respect the game for the game and the sport.

Suzy Welch: The media.

Bill Belichick: It is how a team connects to its fans.

Suzy Welch: Winning.

Bill Belichick: The goal. There's no medals for trying. This isn't like eighth grade where everybody gets a trophy. We are in a professional sport and it is competitive to win. That's what we do.

Suzy Welch: Deflategate.

Bill Belichick: Ridiculous.

Suzy Welch: Aaron Hernandez.

Bill Belichick: Tragedy.

Suzy Welch: Heartbreaking.

Bill Belichick: Yes. That would be another word.

Suzy Welch: Next year.

Bill Belichick: Is this year.

Suzy Welch: Perfect day.

Bill Belichick: Nantucket.

Suzy Welch: Last one. Legacy.

Bill Belichick: For another day.

Suzy Welch: Don't think about it?

Bill Belichick: No. Right now, 2017. Trying to have a good team this year. There will be another day to talk about it.

Suzy Welch: Just another day at the office for you?

Bill Belichick: No. I mean, look, I'm aware of it, but I can't sit and think about it. Look, this year is going to be part of it. So, try to have a good year this year and you know, we will figure out the rest of it later.

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