Belichick feels connection to Redskins’ organization

RICHMOND – New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick never worked for the Washington Redskins in any capacity, but he feels like he has a special connection with the organization.


New England head coach Bill Belichick watches his special teams during practice with the Redskins in Richmond. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Belichick has faced the Redskins plenty of times as an opposing coordinator and head coach. But his connection goes back further than that.

In 1975, Belichick got his start in the NFL as an offensive assistant for the Baltimore Colts. The head coach at the time, Ted Marchibroda, served as offensive coordinator for Washington from 1972-74. When he came to the Colts, Marchibroda brought his playbook with him, and basically left it intact. The only necessary changes were left in Belichick’s hands.

“When Coach Marchibroda came over from the Redskins, he brought the whole Redskins program with him,” Belichick said on Monday before practicing against the Redskins. “I remember just everything we did, one of my jobs was to white out Washington Redskins and type in Baltimore Colts on it and then Xerox it off. It was literally the same – the same offense and Maxie Baughan was the same defensive coordinator and it was the same defense. I remember there was a couple pages somehow that snuck into the playbook that Redskins didn’t get whited out and I heard about it on that.”

The Colts and Redskins scrimmaged in 1975, and Belichick recalled that the matchup “was really like an intersquad scrimmage because every call was the same, every play that they ran was our play and every defense that we ran was their defense.”

Belichick had good familiarity with the Redskins having grown up in Annapolis. He was a Colts fan, but said he didn’t hate the Redskins.

Belichick eventually climbed the coaching ladder and joined the New York Giants’ coaching staff for a decade, serving as linebackers coach from 1980-84 and defensive coordinator from 1985-90. As an NFC East rival, Belichick and the Giants obviously saw a lot of the Redskins.

“This organization has a lot of tradition, great history and of course when I was with the Giants we had a great rivalry at the Redskins and Coach [Joe] Gibbs and playing them twice a year, sometimes three times,” Belichick recalled. “Those were some great battles that I’ll never forget. They were just a huge part of my career. That was Redskins, 49ers – those were kind of the biggest games on the schedule each year.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

The Redskins’ second joint practice with the New England Patriots on Monday began at 4:10 p.m. Here’s our camp guide, if you’re planning to attend.

Also from The Post:

Redskins release first depth chart

Training camp observations from Day 12

Brady exposes weaknesses in Redskins’ defense

Reid: Redskins could learn at lot from New England

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Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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