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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Achievement award for Belichick

By Field Yates

We've passed along some of the highlights from the recent Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and there's another Patriots-related note worthy of a mention.

Head coach Bill Belichick was honored as the second annual winner of the conference's Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given to longtime baseball analyst and sabremetrician Bill James in 2012.

Belichick accepted the award via a video message.

"I certainly respect the mathematical and statistical ways of looking at the game, looking at football, and try to use those methods and those results to improve our product on the field," he said.

"In the end, football is ultimately determined on the field, and I know the Patriots wouldn't want me out there throwing passes and wouldn't want any of you out there trying to cover Rob Gronkowski," he joked. "The analytics and different ways of trying to improve and construct a team are important, and we're all here to do one thing -- whatever our role or job is, whatever team or organization we work for -- and that's to try to find ways to improve, to find a better way to approach our team or business, to look at different strategies, and pick the best one, and ultimately try to motivate and instruct the people that we work with to perform to a higher level, including ourselves."

Belichick also referenced letters received from attendees of the conference which encouraged him to go for it on fourth down. He has been known as one of the most aggressive coaches on fourth down, and a sampling of statisticians have suggested this is a mindset teams ought to adopt more often.