New England Patriots had coach Bill Belichick

Michael Dwyer/AP

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, a former lacrosse player, sees similarities between football and lacrosse ahead of Super Bowl.

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It may surprise NFL and Super Bowl fans to learn that iconic New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s favorite game — after football — is lacrosse.

Belichick played lacrosse in high school and college, and passed his love of the game down to his daughter and two sons, who all played lacrosse in college. His daughter is now the coach for the Holy Cross’ women’s lacrosse team.

“It’s been a big part of our family and a big part of my life,” Belichick told the Baltimore Sun in October. “I know that at the end of football season, we’re coming up to the start of lacrosse season.”

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Back in May, Belichick joked that some of his star New England Patriots players, like quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman, would make good lacrosse players. He thought Brady would be a good goalkeeper. “Put him in the goal. He can’t run. He can’t dodge,” he told Patriots.com. He thought Edelman, the Patriots’ speedy receiver, would make a good midfielder.

Belichick told CBSNews Boston in 2015 that football and lacrosse “have those elements of contact, speed, skill in variant forms.”

Another former lacross player played a key role in getting the Patriots into the Super Bowl on February 5 against the Atlanta Falcons. Chris Hogan, a Penn State lacrosse star [and then a one-year Monmouth football player] caught nine passes for a franchise-record 180 yards, including two touchdowns, to help New England Patriots hammer Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

“I’d say the one thing that Chris does well and maybe is related to lacrosse is just his conditioning,” Belichick told Patriots.com. “He has real good stamina. He can keep going. So that’s probably some carryover [from lacrosse] there.”

With his recent success, Hogan should warrant extra attention from the Falcons in the Super Bowl and he has already drawn praise from some lacrosse stars. The Thompson Brothers, Jerome, Jeremy, Lyle and Miles, who all play in Major League Lacrosse, tweeted a New York Daily News story about him. Rob Pannell, an All-Pro attacker from the New York Lizards tweeted: “Chris Hogan…What a legend…Lacrosse player at heart” during the AFC championship game.

“Without lacrosse and the stuff I learned in the sport, I don’t think I’d be able to do what I’m doing today,” Hogan told US Lacrosse Magazine.

Belichick’s former college team, Wesleyan University, wished him well in the upcoming game on Twitter. “Congrats to former Wesleyan Lacrosse Captain Bill Belichick ‘75 on his seventh Super Bowl appearance! Good Luck coach to you and your team!”

Cary Rosenbaum (Colville) is a correspondent and columnist for Indian Country Media Network. Follow him on Twitter: @caryrosenbaum

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