It’s a trend we probably all hope does not take off. Bill Belichick is known for a peculiar fashion sense, and he lived up to it again for Super Bowl 2018: The New England Patriots’ legendary coach is partial to sleeveless sweatshirts (sometimes a hoodie with the sleeves cut off.)
What gives? Why does Belichick always opt for that…. look? According to The Wall Street Journal, which dubbed the coach’s sartorial sense “frumpy,” Belichick first started wearing sleeveless sweatshirts in 2013. The exact date is November 23, 2003. “It was the day that head coach, Bill Belichick, debuted his now-legendary sweatshirt style: A gray Patriots logo hoodie with cut-off sleeves,” The Wall Street Journal reported. Often Belichick wears a long-sleeved shirt under the short-sleeved or sleeveless hoodie look. Sometimes he wears short-sleeved sweatshirts, and sometimes he goes full hoodie, almost always with the sleeves cut off or short sleeves.
However, the Bleacher Report says that it discovered a slightly earlier game in which Belichick first donned the sleeveless hoodie look. “The first game we find Belichick wearing the infamous Reebok hoodie, still with sleeves intact, was November 11th, 2003 in a game against one of his former mentors, Bill Parcells and the Cowboys,” the site reported.
The Journal claims that Belichick’s sleeveless sweatshirt/hoodie fashion statement is akin to Vince Lombardi’s signature fedora. But check this out! Belichick donned quite a different look when he arrived in Minnesota for Super Bowl 2018.
It might be superstition, but there is not a statistical reason that Belichick has continued to adopt the frumpy hoodie look, though. Namely: It doesn’t really work. “Of the 42 games he coached wearing the cut-sleeved version, the team won 32; of the 24 for which he wore the full-sleeved version, the Patriots won 22. In other words, he seems to do better when he leaves the sleeves alone,” reported The Journal.
According to statistician Bob Yoon, the color of Belichick’s hoodie matters too. “Whenever Belichick wears gray, the Pats win by an average of 11 points. Blue, 9.05. He should avoid Red and White. White, they lose by 5.67 points and red, they’re barely scraping by. When I dug into this further, the main difference seems to be on how many points the Patriots score. The Patriots score 8 points less when Belichick is wearing red. White, forget about it – 11.67 points. The amount of points scored by the opponent is statistically the same no matter the color Belichick is wearing,” reported PatsPropaganda.com.
There’s even a database tracking Belichick’s fashion choices. You can see it here. Belichick didn’t always favor hoodies with the sleeves missing or hacked off; he once was more frequently seen in windbreakers, and white polo shirts, and when he first turned to hoodies, there were many times that he wore them, as the database notes, “WITH SLEEVES!” By 2011, the database contains no such mentions, as Belichick was all in on the cut off sleeve look.
Las Vegas bookies even took bets before Super Bowl 2018 on what Belichick would wear, including, “Bill Belichick wears a hoodie during game: Yes -130 / No +100.”
Belichick insisted that he doesn’t give his sleeveless look a great deal of thought. “In all honesty I really don’t pay that much attention to it, I swear I don’t. People ask me after the game why did you wear the blue one, why did you wear the gray one? I just put on whatever is there,” he told WEEI radio in 2012.