WATCH: Bill Belichick Dons Championship Belt While Team Visits UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas

by Bryan Fyalkowski

In advance of their third preseason game against the Raiders on Friday night, the New England Patriots rolled into Las Vegas a few days early. The team visited the UFC’s Performance Institute and it made for some tremendous content, especially from Bill Belichick.

Perhaps the best video from the visit was when UFC president Dana White gave the Patriots head coach the championship belt to try on. Reporter Brandan Fitzgerald was there to capture the scene, which actually included a smile from the typically stoic Belichick.

You can tell the 70-year-old was excited to show off the championship belt in front of the team. He strapped it on tight and stepped in the middle of the group to raise his arms in triumph. It adds to the list of unusual things Bill Belichick has done this offseason.

Well, unusual for him, at least.

The NFL head coach does not really give his players unnecessary praise. But out of nowhere, he went on the record last month with a complimentary quote regarding New England quarterback Mac Jones.

“He’s made tremendous strides,” Belichick said at the time. “He did a great job last year. But he’s starting from a much, much higher point this year from where he started last year. His offseason work has been significant. I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he was than a year ago.”

Going into his third year removed from the Tom Brady era, maybe Belichick is turning over a new leaf.

Bill Belichick Splits Offensive Play-Calling Duties in Preseason

Going into the preseason, one thing many New England fans were curious about was how Joe Judge and Matt Patricia would handle working in tandem in play-calling duties. In an interesting move, Bill Belichick did not choose one man to replace Josh McDaniels as coordinator – he hired two.

While the offense had shown some subpar performances throughout training camp, it put up a solid showing in the team’s first preseason game. Against the New York Giants on August 11, the Patriots scored 21 points and put up 308 total yards of offense in a two-point loss.

“I didn’t think it was a problem,” Belichick commented in a post-game interview. “I thought we were on the ball quickly and had plenty of time to operate. We had to audible a few times and were able to do that.”

He continued: “There’s plenty of room for improvement. I’m not saying we’re there yet, but getting there.”