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Belichick doc draws viewers to NFLN

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  September 16, 2011 04:20 PM

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Other than possibly Derrick Mason, it's hard to believe anyone who tuned in to the premiere of "Bill Belichick: A Football Life" on the NFL Network last night didn't come away entertained and feeling like they had a new depth of insight into the Patriots coach's personality.

(He's more than a guy who mumbles when he's standing behind a podium; he's also a guy who eats soup while he's on a conference call! Oh, I'm being facetious -- Belichick is extremely compelling, and comes across as funny, brilliant, sentimental, prepared and prescient. And I'll tell you, any player who watches this -- excluding Scoreboard Mason -- will probably want to play for the guy if he didn't already. Especially Ed Reed.)

Plenty of people did tune in, particularly by the NFL Network's standards. An average of 657,000 fans watched the first of the two-episode look at the Patriots coach last night, making it the most-watched documentary in the network's eight-year history.

Locally, it pulled in an average of 151,000 viewers, trailing only the Red Sox-Rays game on NESN as the most-watched program during the time period in Boston.

The second part of the series premieres next Thursday on NFLN at 10 p.m. I've heard from a couple of sources who would know who say that Part 2 is even better than the first.

Perhaps this is a spoiler -- pause -- but I've heard Belichick says something along the lines of "We need to get Welker off the field," just before he blew out his knee in the 2009 regular season finale at Houston. If true, that should induce chills in Patriots fans, if not a more visceral reaction.

By the way, Belichick is just the first subject in the network's very promising "A Football Life'' series. Upcoming episodes include a feature on former Eagles defensive linemen Reggie White and Jerome Brown, as well as looks at the life of Walter Payton and the improbable ascent of Kurt Warner. Count me in for all of them.

* * *

Today's media column, on the abundance of recent former Patriots thriving as analysts, can be found here.

And if you missed them, here's my review of Part 1 from our football preview section last week, as well as a blog post about some of the best scenes.

So, did you guys like "A Football Life" as much as I did?

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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