Bill Belichick is widely regarded as the greatest head coach in NFL history. He's won six Super Bowls while leading the New England Patriots since 2000 and was even hoisting Lombardi Trophies before that as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. Of course, his football story goes further back as his father coached at the U.S. Naval Academy during his youth, so he has been around the game for most, if not all, of his life.
Naturally, that puts Belichick in a position to come across several great players over his coaching lifetime, and that includes some all-time greats. While speaking to The 33rd Team's Mike Tannenbaum, Belichick highlighted three players that he feels are the greatest at their respective positions. On offense, that honor was bestowed on quarterback Tom Brady, who he won all six of his Patriots titles alongside and sparked a two-decade-long dynasty in New England. As for the defensive side of the ball, that went to outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor during his days as an assistant coach with the Giants.
Finally, Belichick turned to special teams and put gunner Matthew Slater on the pedestal, dubbing him the greatest special teams player of all time.
"I feel like I've coached the best offensive player, the best player in football in Tom (Brady); the best defensive player in football in L.T. (Lawrence Taylor), and the best special-teams player in football in Matt Slater," Belichick told Tannenbaum. "If you're a coach and you coach Taylor, Brady and Slater, that's three pretty good players."
Of course, Brady and Taylor need no introduction. Brady is the most decorated player in league history and is widely considered to be the greatest of all time even beyond his position. Taylor is considered the greatest defensive player of all time and helped lead the Giants to two Super Bowls in the late 80s and early 90s.
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As for Slater, he's a bit more unsung largely because he's solely a special teams player. The three-time Super Bowl champion holds the record for most special teams Pro Bowl selections (10).
"As a core special-teams player, Slater really is, you know … has been the best of all time," Belichick said. "I hope he gets recognized for that."
Slater is entering his 16th season in the NFL in 2023. Whenever he does decide to call it a career, it will then spark a fascinating debate regarding his candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One person who will seemingly be banging the drum hard for him to put on a gold jacket and enter Canton will be Belichick.