Revisiting Bill Belichick-Brian Daboll history ahead of Patriots-Giants meeting

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Revisiting Belichick's history with Daboll entering Patriots-Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Bill Belichick will coach against a former pupil when the New England Patriots face the New York Giants in their preseason opener Thursday night. But there's a bit more history between Belichick and Brian Daboll than the former employing the latter.

Belichick and Daboll both featured prominently in a lawsuit that former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed this winter against the NFL, the Giants, the Dolphins and the Denver Broncos alleging racism in the hiring process for coaches.

Among the evidence that Flores cited in that lawsuit was a text exchange between Flores and Belichick in which Belichick mistakenly congratulated Flores for landing the Giants' head coach job, thinking he was talking to Daboll.

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Here's the exchange, which Flores alleged happened three days before he interviewed for the Giants opening.

Belichick: "Sounds like you have landed -- congrats!!!"

Flores: "Did you hear something I didn't hear?"

Belichick: "Giants!?!?!"

Flores: "I interview Thursday. I think I have a shot at it."

Belichick: "Got it - I hear from Buffalo and NYG that you are their guy. Hope it works out if you want it to!!

Flores: "That's definitely what I want! I hope you're right coach. Thank you."

Flores: "Coach, are you talking to Brian Flores or Brian Daboll. Just making sure."

Belichick: "Sorry - I f---d this up. I double checked and misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I'm sorry about that. BB"

Flores: "Thanks Bill."

Flores presented this exchange as evidence that the Giants had already decided on Daboll as their head coach before even meeting with Flores and essentially conducted a "sham interview" with the Dolphins coach to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for a head coach opening.

Shortly after filing his lawsuit, Flores suggested that Belichick's "influence" helped Daboll land the Giants job. Daboll spent a total of 11 years in New England over two separate stints (2000 to 2006 and 2013 to 2016), and Belichick's opinion obviously carries plenty of weight, so if Belichick gave Daboll a good recommendation, that likely went a very long way toward Daboll landing the job.

Flores' lawsuit and comments provide quite the interesting backdrop for Thursday's contest, in which Belichick will face Daboll as a head coach for the first time after seeing him twice a year as the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator from 2018 to 2021.

Flores' lawsuit is still ongoing, however, so don't expect Belichick or Daboll to answer any questions about this text exchange -- not that Belichick would anyway.