Why Bill Belichick Doesn't Like Job Titles

Even if someone else holds a title of offensive coordinator, starting left tackle or director of player personnel, Bill Belichick will take full responsibility for any failures, while praising all of the success.

In Japan, when two business people meet for the first time, they exchange business cards. Each holds it in their hand and focuses downward, reading the information, before bowing down as a greeting. The lower the bow, the higher the level of importance. Titles matter in Japan, as they do in most places.

We all love having fancy titles for our jobs. They are supposed to give the outside world an understanding of the significance of the positions we hold. They also allow blame to be spread and are an easy means of determining a culprit when something goes awry.

But with the New England Patriots, Coach Bill Belichick is vague on titles and sheds little light on the responsibilities of those on his staff. There are reasons Belichick keeps reporters, fans and outside competitors in the dark. 

The first and most substantial is that he is unwilling to give away anything unless it's earned. If he is going to stand in front of his team and announce competition is open and that everything must be earned, then how can he sing a different tune when addressing staff issues?

For Belichick to develop the right culture of “everything must be earned every day,” what is good for the players must be good for the staff. There cannot be double standards. Belichick doesn’t give away starting positions on the field, so why would he do so off of it?

Another reason titles are nebulous in New England centers around Belichick wanting to keep blame away from the coaches. As the leader, he is responsible for the success of the team, as well as its failures.

When things go wrong, Belichick doesn’t want anyone besides himself becoming the lightning rod. Once the blame game begins, then certain members of the organization away from it can feel at ease, when in closer analysis, they should share some of the burdens. By taking on all the blame, though, Belichick solves the problems at hand internally, without outside interference or perception controlling the narrative.

Even if someone else holds a title of offensive coordinator, starting left tackle or director of player personnel, Belichick will take full responsibility for any failures, while praising all of the success. It is a crucial element of leading: Stand in front when things go poorly, and stand behind when things go well.

Titles have their place when earned in New England.

But blame has only one: With the leader.

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