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Bill Belichick is no stranger to the playoffs.  He’s been on the sidelines for 38 postseason games as a head coach with 28 victories, and entering the 2017 playoffs, he was tied with Don Shula and Tom Landry for most playoff games coached (36).  Of his three opposing head coaches in the 2017 playoffs — Mike Mularkey, Doug Marrone, and Doug Pederson — none had made the playoffs before this year.

Prior to their games with the Patriots, Marrone and Pederson had been 2-0, while Mularky had been 1-0, giving Belichick a 35-game/25-win advantage over Mularkey and Marrone, and a 36-game/26-win advantage over Pederson (who, like Belichick, had a bye this postseason). It should go without saying, but let’s state the obvious truth: a 36-game coaching edge, and a 26-win coaching edge, are both playoff records.

Before this year, the largest coaching differential in playoff game experience was 34, held by Tom Landry in this game against John Robinson and the Rams.

The table below shows the largest coaching disadvantages in playoff history prior to 2017 (since now the top three rows would all be Belichick). Note that all of the data presented below is the coaching experience prior to the start of that postseason, so Belichick would show up as +36 against each of Mularkey, Marrone, and Pederson.

YearCoachOpp CoachTeamOppBoxscoreRoundResultPrev GOpp Coach PGDiff
1983Tom LandryJohn RobinsondalramBoxscoreWL 24-1734034
2016Bill BelichickDan QuinnnweatlBoxscoreSW 34-2833033
2016Bill BelichickBill O'BriennwehtxBoxscoreDW 34-1633132
1985Tom LandryJohn RobinsondalramBoxscoreDL 20-035332
1994Don ShulaBobby RossmiasdgBoxscoreDL 22-2133231
1992Don ShulaBobby RossmiasdgBoxscoreDW 31-031031
1982Tom LandryJoe GibbsdalwasBoxscoreCL 31-1731031
1982Tom LandryBart StarrdalgnbBoxscoreDW 37-2631031
1981Tom LandryBill WalshdalsfoBoxscoreCL 28-2729029
1982Tom LandryJohn McKaydaltamBoxscoreWW 30-1731328
2015Bill BelichickGary KubiaknwedenBoxscoreCL 20-1831427
1985Don ShulaRaymond BerrymianweBoxscoreCL 31-1427027
1985Don ShulaMarty SchottenheimermiacleBoxscoreDW 24-2127027
1981Tom LandryJohn McKaydaltamBoxscoreDW 38-029227
1990Don ShulaMarv LevymiabufBoxscoreDL 44-3429326
2014Bill BelichickChuck PaganonwecltBoxscoreCW 45-728325
2013Bill BelichickChuck PaganonwecltBoxscoreDW 43-2226125
1980Tom LandryLeeman BennettdalatlBoxscoreDW 30-2726224
1990Don ShulaMarty SchottenheimermiakanBoxscoreWW 17-1629623
1980Tom LandryDick VermeildalphiBoxscoreCL 20-726323
1979Tom LandryRay MalavasidalramBoxscoreDL 21-1925223
2016Bill BelichickMike TomlinnwepitBoxscoreCW 36-17331122
2012Bill BelichickGary KubiaknwehtxBoxscoreDW 41-2824222
2007Mike HolmgrenMike McCarthyseagnbBoxscoreDL 42-2022022
1992Don ShulaMarv LevymiabufBoxscoreCL 29-1031922
1978Tom LandryRay MalavasidalramBoxscoreCW 28-022022
1978Tom LandryLeeman BennettdalatlBoxscoreDW 27-2022022
1980Tom LandryRay MalavasidalramBoxscoreWW 34-1326521
2015Andy ReidBill O'BrienkanhtxBoxscoreWW 30-020020
1994Don ShulaMarty SchottenheimermiakanBoxscoreWW 27-17331320
1982Bud GrantJoe GibbsminwasBoxscoreDL 21-720020

We can do the same thing for playoff experience using wins instead of games coached. Belichick set a new record by being +25 against Mularkey, and will set a new one by being +26 against Pederson, but he already held the record:

YearCoachOpp CoachTeamOppBoxscoreRoundResultPrev WOpp Coach PWDiff
2016Bill BelichickDan QuinnnweatlBoxscoreSW 34-2823023
2016Bill BelichickBill O'BriennwehtxBoxscoreDW 34-1623023
1983Tom LandryJohn RobinsondalramBoxscoreWL 24-1720020
2015Bill BelichickGary KubiaknwedenBoxscoreCL 20-1822220
1985Tom LandryJohn RobinsondalramBoxscoreDL 20-020119
1982Tom LandryJoe GibbsdalwasBoxscoreCL 31-1718018
1982Tom LandryBart StarrdalgnbBoxscoreDW 37-2618018
2014Bill BelichickChuck PaganonwecltBoxscoreCW 45-719118
2013Bill BelichickChuck PaganonwecltBoxscoreDW 43-2218018
1994Don ShulaBobby RossmiasdgBoxscoreDL 22-2118117
1992Don ShulaBobby RossmiasdgBoxscoreDW 31-017017
1981Tom LandryBill WalshdalsfoBoxscoreCL 28-2717017
1982Tom LandryJohn McKaydaltamBoxscoreWW 30-1718117
2016Bill BelichickMike TomlinnwepitBoxscoreCW 36-1723617
1981Tom LandryJohn McKaydaltamBoxscoreDW 38-017116
2012Bill BelichickGary KubiaknwehtxBoxscoreDW 41-2817116
1985Don ShulaRaymond BerrymianweBoxscoreCL 31-1415015
1985Don ShulaMarty SchottenheimermiacleBoxscoreDW 24-2115015
1990Don ShulaMarv LevymiabufBoxscoreDL 44-3416115
1992Joe GibbsDennis GreenwasminBoxscoreWW 24-715015

And here are those previous playoff win differentials for each of the times Belichick has lost in the postseason.

YearCoachOpp CoachTeamOppBoxscoreRoundResultPrev WOpp Coach PWDiff
2015Bill BelichickGary KubiaknwedenBoxscoreCL 20-1822220
2010Bill BelichickRex RyannwenyjBoxscoreDL 28-2115213
2009Bill BelichickJohn HarbaughnweravBoxscoreWL 33-1415213
2013Bill BelichickJohn FoxnwedenBoxscoreCL 26-1618612
2012Bill BelichickJohn HarbaughnweravBoxscoreCL 28-1317512
2007Bill BelichickTom CoughlinnwenygBoxscoreSL 17-141349
2011Bill BelichickTom CoughlinnwenygBoxscoreSL 21-171587
2006Bill BelichickTony DungynwecltBoxscoreCL 38-341156
2005Bill BelichickMike ShanahannwedenBoxscoreDL 27-131073
1994Bill BelichickBill CowherclepitBoxscoreDL 29-9000

What stands out to you?

  • sacramento gold miners

    Pederson’s lack of a track record may actually be an advantage, and like Kubiak, he was a backup QB during his playing days. I don’t think Belichick’s experience, or smarts will be the difference in this game. It’s mostly on Brady, and how well the Eagles can defend him. Some of those Patriots defeats were aided by affecting Brady early, making him and his receivers uncomfortable. The gulf in QB quality between Brady and Foles is one of the largest in SB history. Philadelphia can’t play scared, and must avoid a slow start. Third down conversion percentage will be a huge stat in this one.

  • Richie

    Those advantages don’t reflect too well on the outcomes.

    In the top chart, the coach with more experience is only 18-13 in those matchups. While the coach with more wins is only 12-8. Yes, winning records, but not significant advantages.