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petak, 27. siječnja 2012.

Bill Belichick, Rob Ninkovich & David Diehl: A Croatian Connection For Super Bow XLVI

 Bill Belichick and David Diehl both photographed celebrating after their Super Bowl victories. Next Sunday their respective teams, the New England Patriots and New York Giants will lock horns in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI.

After this post was already made, I found out that besides Bill Belichick, that Patriots Defensive End Rob Ninkovich is also of Croatian descent so I updated the post. (I don't really follow football much these days and haven't for quite some time) For those unfamiliar with the outcome of this years Super Bowl, and who got the privilege to hoist the Vince Lomardi trophy again, after reading the articles below you can click onto the updated post of this story HERE.

(Note - For an updated 2015 related post see also another-croatian-connection-at-superbowl-XLIX)

I'm not sure if I'm going to watch this years 42nd edition of the NFL Super Bowl. I haven't particularly followed the CFL or NFL for many years. (Although I did a stint playing high school football as a Tight End at one time before an ankle injury, and that was that) If one is a regular reader of this blog, you may be scratching your head about this one. Me posting a football piece again. But this one is a bit different again. There's a little known "Croatian connection" in all of this, so this one I just might watch next Sunday. Pretty interesting post if you're Croatian background and didn't know the following info.

Who am I going to root for if anyone? Ancient Chinese secret as the secretive Chinese always say. Either way it's actually a win-win from this blogs point of view. Next Sunday for those not in the know, both the New York Giants and New England Patriots will include people of Croatian background taking part in this years sports spectacular extravaganza and cheesy half-time show which will probably be the most blatant example of choreographed cheesiness of the year. (And anticipated commercials, musn't forget those pesky, annoying billion dollars a minute commercials ) Perhaps unknown to many, Bill Belichick who is the head coach of the New England Patriots, has Croatian roots. And joining him on the other side of the field, Offensive Guard of the New York Giants, David Diehl,  also has Croatian background.

I did a couple of posts previously about David, mainly regarding his tattoos and his first trip to Croatia to explore his roots. You can read those HERE and HERE..  I also mentioned the name of 3 time NFL "Coach of ther Year" Bill Belichick on a post HERE..  (Bill isn't the only NFL head coach of Croatian background either btw.. Surprise again.  A former assistant coach under Belichick during his time with the Cleveland Browns, Nick Saban, also went on to become head coach of the Miami Dolphins)

Anyway, not much more for me to add here.  I'm not going to get into their life biographies here, you'll have to click onto the links for more information. If one follows the NFL, then I'm pretty sure both names are already familiar to you.  Just as an interesting sidenote though after reading one of the articles. Bill Belichick was discussing how his grandfather used to always talk about Croatia to him when Bill was a kid, and that unfortunately he hasn't hasn't had an opportunity to visit there yet. That's too bad.  He should definitely chat with David after the Super Bowl to get some inside info and make plans to go sometime soon.  He doesn't know what he's missing....

Bill Belichick makes history in the NFL

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (January 9, 2010 - Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America) 





A Croatian-American took the New England Patriots to a record sixteen wins without a loss in the NFL season, a first in the history of American football.

Ratko Rudic, Ante Kostelic, Josko Vlasic, Lino Červar ... and Bill Belichick. All of these have created world champions, however in the case of Kostelic and Belichick ... Kostelic created ski champions in a country without 2 major mountains, and Belichick made NFL football history, history in a sport which has had a tradition in Croatia of only a few years. The New England Patriots entered football history last Saturday as the first team with a perfect record of 16-0 since the time they started including 16 regular season games,  and they are coached by a Croat.

Bill Belichick, who is the coach of the record holding team, is a second generation Croatian-American. His grandfather's name was John (Ivan) Beličić and he lived in the town of Karlovac. (Belichick is an Americanization of his surname, his grandmother changed it when his father's 1st grade teacher couldn't pronounce his last name ) His father emmigrated to the United States near the end of the 19th century. Bill inherited his love of American Football from his father, Steve (Stephen). His father played for the Detroit Lions and was an assistant coach and scout with the United States Naval Academy football team for 33 years. Not only has Belichick led his team to perfection in the regular season however, he also led them to Super Bowl victory 3 times. (2001., 2003., 2004)..,which has made them the most successful NFL team in the 21st century.

Photo:( Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

Last year they were hoping to build on that success, but unfortunately lost to the Indianapolis Colts 38-34. In addition to his success with the Patriots, Bill has also had success with the education and training of coaches under his supervision. Coaches working under Bill Belichick have gone on to coach two NFL teams and five universities in the NCAA First Division. Not one active coach in American football has such a successful "coaching lineage". All in all, it almost seems like everything Bill Belichick touches turns to gold. A man who's origins are from a soccer country where American football is almost an enigma. In the end  it seems  possesing great leadership genes is what matters most.

Being received by President George W. Bush after his 3rd Super Bowl victory in 2005

(January 12, 2008 - Photo by Elsa/Getty Images Sport)



Shortly after graduating college, Bill Belichick got his first offer for a coaching job in the NFL, and he accepted it. He became assistant head coach for the Baltimore Colts, and received a measly $25 a week. His first opportunity to become a head coach  was not until 1991, when he took charge of the Cleveland Browns.

For more information about Bill Belichick's early life history HERE.

 Hajduk Split fan David Diehl in the Super Bowl again

David Diehl official website:


Related: david-diehl-superbowl-champion-new


In this years Super Bowl the heart of a Hajduk will be beating! David Diehl, an American star of this popular American sport and a fanatical Hajduk Split supporter, battled with his New York Giants to reach the Super Bowl again and celebrated in his own way. David celebrated the Giants victory with the scarf of his favorite soccer team, Hajduk Split. And we proudly celebrated the triumph with our "indestructible" David ...(That's what his tattoo "Neuništiv"on his left arm means in Croatian)

His New York Giants will play against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl next Sunday, and there will be no doubt as to which side Hajduk Split will be rooting for.

Best wishes, David!

Photos from the celebration arrived  from Diehl to his friend Fredi Fiorentini in Split. The photograph was taken by Anthony Causi.

Photo from Davids first trip to Croatia last year.

David is also known for the many children's charities he has been involved with over the years:

I have the same 100th Anniversary jersey which I bought in Split last summer.  Some of my Cro soccer jerseys are already numbered 66, so for this one I opted for number 13 in the traditional blue and a number pattern that I actually personally designed.

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