The New England Patriots arrived in Indianapolis, where coach Bill Belichick will seek to match Chuck Noll’s record four Super Bowl victories.
The Patriots begin practices today in Indianapolis for the National Football League’s Feb. 5 championship game against the New York Giants. A win would give Belichick his fourth title in five Super Bowl appearances with the Patriots.
Belichick, 59, said it’s an “honor” to be mentioned along with Noll, who won four Super Bowls during his 23-year run as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Noll’s final season was in 1991, which was Belichick’s first year as an NFL coach with the Cleveland Browns. Belichick has been the Patriots’ coach since 2000 and won Super Bowl titles after the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chuck and the job he did with his team and the organization,” Belichick said after the Patriots’ arrival yesterday. “It is very flattering to be mentioned in the same sentence with Chuck Noll.”
The Giants are scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis today.
The Patriots received a sendoff from about 25,000 fans yesterday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, where Belichick, owner Robert Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady and other players addressed the crowd.
“We had a great turnout at the stadium,” Belichick said. “I don’t know how many fans there were, but the whole lower deck was packed on the whole side of the field and the end zones. We got a great send-off.”
Belichick’s three Super Bowl wins are tied with Joe Gibbs and Bill Walsh for the second-most among coaches, while Brady’s three titles are one shy of the quarterback record of four held by Terry Bradshaw and his childhood idol, Joe Montana.
“Honestly, I haven’t really given much thought to any records or anything like that,” Brady said yesterday. “For me and for our team, it’s really about this one game and the challenges that the Giants present to us.”