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Patriot Reign: Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion Paperback – Bargain Price, October 11, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Review

“Enlightening...An X-and-O guy’s dream…the best thing I’ve read on football in recent years...Superb.” (Peter King, Sports Illustrated)

About the Author

MICHAEL HOLLEY is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Patriot Reign, Never Give Up (with Tedy Bruschi), and Red Sox Rule. He was a Boston Globe sportswriter for ten years, and he is the cohost of The Big Show on Boston sports radio station WEEI. Holley lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and two sons.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (October 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060757957
  • ASIN: B000HWYRGO
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am neither a Patriots fan nor a Bill Belichick fan. But, because of this book, I have an immense amount of respect for the organization and the man. My favorite parts of the book are when Michael Holley, the author, goes into detail about game plan and scouting strategy. Here's one example.

When the Patriots played the Rams in the 2002 SuperBowl, they were expected to get steam-rolled, especially since the Rams had blown them out earlier in the season. As Holley explains, Belichick's strategy in the first game had been to do everything possible to pressure the Rams QB, Kurt Warner. It didn't work, and Warner picked the Patriots defense apart rather easily. Before the SuperBowl, Belichick began thinking that maybe the real key to containing the "greatest show on turf" was to disrupt Faulk, not Warner. So, instead of having his d-linemen and linebackers go all out after Warner, Belichick instructed them (over and over again) to first hit Faulk (if he was in the vicinity) in the backfield and then rush. Also, Belichick and his staff told them never to assume that Faulk was staying home to block--it was always a decoy. The Patriots were also taught that the Rams never run the same play out of the same formation. Even if it looks like the same play they saw 15 minutes ago, it's not. The strategy worked, and Belichick's defensive genius trumped the offensive genius of Mike Martz as the Pats won their first SuperBowl.

Holley also does a good job of describing Belichick's desire and tendency to challenge commonly held (but not well though-out) football assumptions. During the 2002 post-Championship season, the Patriots were right around .500 and playing poorly.
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Format: Hardcover
I liked the book, I thought Michael Holley did a decent job, but it should've been better. He said on a couple of occasions that No one from the Patriots interfered with the book, So I expected him to go deeper. For instance, The combine section, the stuff he wrote about was great (about Brandon Lloyd and the overall process)but giving us examples from the interview of players that the Pats actually did draft and the things they liked about them would've been a logical and more meaningful addition to the section. I felt that the sections of the book that dealt with the 2002 and 2003 seasons were filled with generalities. Other than in 2002 they were old and not focused and in 2003 they were more prepared, I didn't get that much out of it. Instead of just telling us a quick blurb on the scouting of Brady, and how much they loved him, maybe enlight us as to why they didn't draft him sooner. It may sound like I'm nitpicking, but as I was reading I was expecting to read some of these things as natural extensions of what I was already reading and time and time again it didn't happen. There are other examples of this, but it might unfaily portray this as a bad book which it absolutley isn't. Belicheck's issue with Tom Jackson, his relationship with Parcells, Pioli, His coaches, Lessons he learned, his playeer evaluation process the stuff on the 2001 Super Bowl, Belichecks relationship with the media in general, all great stuff, but it just should've been better.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Holly, a former sports writer for the Boston Herald, followed the New England Patriots through the 2002-2003 National Football League seasons. He describes himself as a "fly on the wall" in team meetings, coaches meetings, and seems to have been literally everywhere with the Patriots for those two years. The result is a well done, inside look at the inner workings of what is now considered one of the preeminent sports organizations and teams.

New England Patriots fans have suffered a lot of losing seasons over the years. Painful losing seasons. The organization, the players, and coaches were just atrocious and there was no hope in sight during stretches of the 1980's and early 1990's. That is why the 2001 Super Bowl victory over the St. Louis Rams was so gratifying to Patriots fans. The team's failure to reach the playoffs in 2002 was a big disappointment because it appeared maybe the Patriots where just a lucky underdog with a good run. Michael Holly actually started following the team at the start of the 2002 season and decided to continue on in 2003. He was rewarded with another Super Bowl run that not only legitimized the Patriots as an elite team in the NFL but legitimized the 2001 championship season as well.

So how did the Patriots do it? Holley tells us. It's through a very well organized sports team from the top down. And it all centers around coach Bill Belichick, who sets the goals and responsibilities of all parts of the organization and then, as a team, working toward that goal, which is of course winning championships. It relies on team work from the owner, the scouts, the trainers, the coaches, the administrative staff, and of course, the players. And it's important to note the importance of owner Robert Kraft.
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Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed in this book, but it's not terrible. If 2.5 stars were an option, I would have chosen it, but I couldn't justify rounding up. The reviewer who wrote "Two years and this is it?" hit the nail on the head. I've read Michael Holley's column before and liked it, so I'm surprised he couldn't derive more insight out of his tenure as a fly on the wall in Foxborough. The book is an easy read and has some good anecdotes, particularly about the departures of Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe. There are some good stories about Belichik (I loved the unprintable comment Belichik made to Tom Jackson after the Super Bowl). But I expected a little more analysis about what really sets Belichik and the Patriots apart. If that's what you're looking for, you'll be disappointed. This book contained the startling insights that Belichik is very smart, works very hard, and expects the same of his players and coaches. I could get that from reading any random column by Bob Ryan or Nick Cafardo, and they don't need two-year sabbaticals to figure it out. The book isn't very well-written either. It reads like it needed one more draft before publication. There were times when I had to re-read a paragraph to figure out to whom pronouns were referring, which shows some lazy writing and editing. Overall, it's not awful but it sure could, and should, have been better.
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