Is Bill Belichick’s “Rosebud” Painted Navy Gold?





Orson Welles’ historic 1941 film epic “Citizen Kane” reflects the life of a world famous newspaper tycoon (allegedly based on the true life of William Randolph Hearst). The tycoon’s final utterance was the word “Rosebud” and the movie examines his entire life to find out why that word was so meaningful to him. At film’s end it is discovered that “Rosebud” was the name on his sled from his very humble childhood days – surprisingly, the happiest period of his life. 

Bill Belichick has certainly attained legendary status in the world of professional football. His three Super Bowl victories as head coach of the New England Patriots have certified his ranking as one of the top coaches in the game. His lofty career ascension has also brought him personal wealth, fame and power. It would seem that he has reached the pinnacle. One might assume that things have never been better for him. 

Inside Bill Belichick’s somewhat understated coaching office sits a special reproduction of a helmet from the 1962 Army / Navy game and it is always within his arm’s reach. Bill’s normal stoic demeanor instantly changes to a rare show of outward joy when his attention drifts to the helmet known as the “Jolly Roger.” Could this wonderful keepsake from the past be Bill Belichick’s own “Rosebud”? 

It would be natural to assume that it doesn’t get any better than winning the Super Bowl trophy except for winning it again which, of course, he has. But after looking at these accompanying photos, revealing his deep rooted smile and the youthful pointing gesture he exhibits towards that old helmet, please allow us to speculate on his most special times.  

More than 40 years ago Bill was a youngster and like many of us, eager to walk in the steps of their father. Bill’s dad was an assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy and football was not only a sport for the young Belichick it was in his blood. Not content to serve simply as the team’s waterboy, Bill pleaded with his father to become totally involved in the Navy football program. He attended coaching meeting with his dad, helped with the equipment, worked from the bench during games and developed friendships with the heroic players. This was an era where the Navy team was a perennial national power and the annual Army / Navy game was considered one of the biggest games of the year in college football. Bill was there to savor and experience, close up, the leadership qualities of a special Navy quarterback named Staubach. He watched first hand as Navy head coach Wayne Hardin implemented those taunting slogans on the helmets and uniforms of the Navy players prior to their big games with Army. He felt the thrill of his Navy team winning this big game five years in a row (did this somehow prepare him for successive Super Bowl victories?). Bill was young, eager, growing and improving and this special bond with his father became the foundation for his future success.  

Coach Bill Belichick has certainly risen to the top of his profession over the last few years. He is living the dream of every football coach in the country. But it should be perfectly understandable that the gleam behind his rare smile primarily reflects the bright shine from a certain vintage metallic gold football helmet. Let us wish that everyone, somewhere in their past, has their own piece of “Rosebud” to cherish.


If interested in any of these Navy helmets please click on the photos below.