With about 27 minutes to go before kickoff, Belichick was flashed onto the two jumbo end zone screens at Gillette Stadium during team's warm-up drills. The more than 65,000 Pats fans told Belichick that they support the three-time Super Bowl Championship coach with a rousing applause. A humble smile pierced Belichick's tough exterior as he graciously waved at the fans in appreciation for their support.
After the game, Belichick told the media he appreciated the fan's support. "I want to thank the fans for their awesome support. I definitely felt that from the time I walked out on the field," he said. "They showed up tonight. They were with us and they gave us some energy and we appreciate that. We have great fans."
|New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, left, talks with reporters Sept. 12, 2007 Belichick apologized to his team on Wednesday Sept. 12, 2007 . (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)|
The Patriots organization has also rallied around Belichick. For the first time ever in his eight seasons as Patriots coach, Belichick was announced with the starting defensive lineup. With Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" guitar riff reverberating throughout the cool night air, stadium PA announcer John Rook bellowed "And the architect behind the Patriots Defense BILL BELICHICK!" The stadium simply erupted. "It was awesome. We have great fans and they showed up and supported the team and I felt some personally as well. I appreciate that."
The organization also sent Belichick support as it was reported just prior to the game that Bill Belichick has signed a new deal with the team through the 2013 season.
"Well, the coach and I have had a policy that we don't discuss his contract, but he's made great contributions to this franchise over the last seven years," said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. "All of our fans truly appreciate his efforts."
The fans throughout the night not only showed their support vocally, but also visually. Several signs that read: "Camera or no camera! Pats will still kick your butt!" "Nobody but Belichick wins championships!" and of course, "In Bill We Trust!"
However, the anti-Belichick fans in the stands expressed themselves with more interesting humor. A group of about a dozen Charger fans entered the stadium wearing white T-shirts with a silhouette of a video cameraman figure. The cameraman's head was the flying Elvis logo. Others wore T-shirts with the phrases "Dirty Dynasty" and "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying!" Other fans wore Patriots baseball caps with fake cardboard cameras glued to the top of the hats and another fan had a camera hat with the words "Jets Cam" written on the sides.
|Bill Belichick and Tom Brady during practice (PI Photo)|
Despite this scattered negative expression, Gillette Stadium is Patriots country and the players rallied around their coach.
Quarterback Tom Brady said "we're all lucky to play for him. He's the best coach probably in the history of the NFL. And that says a lot, but it's fun for us to come in and sit on that side, looking up at him and knowing what he's all about." About the fan support for Belichick, Brady said "yeah, that was great. He deserves it."
Safety James Sanders said the team is behind their leader. "This is our guy," said Sanders. "We're going to fight for him and we're going to go out there and play for him. We appreciate what he has done for us The fans out here love Bill Belichick. We knew they were looking forward to this game. They showed up tonight."
Linebacker Junior Seau said, "We've got a lot of love for Bill. We really do. The culture you see here is because of Bill and the Kraft family. We understand that. Our hats are off to him."
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