It's a Bill Belichick quote that we run every week during football season on Tom E. Curran's show Quick Slants: "Stats are for losers."
But the Patriots coach's opinion on the numbers game in football is really more nuanced than that. While he still relies more on his evaluation of players over any statistics they might put up, he knows that some statistics can be of use in a limited capacity.
The topic came up in Belichick's conference call on Saturday when he was asked if the tackles stat is a relevant one. Second-year linebacker out of Rutgers Steve Beauharnais has led the team in total tackles in both preseason games this summer with nine in each.
"I think that stats can be relevant, certainly," Belichick said. "But I also think they can be misleading. There is a significance to them, I'm not saying that. But I certainly don't think, by any means, do they tell the whole story. There are a lot of players that do their job very, very well without having a lot of big stats. There are other players that have some stats that I'd say sometimes are a little bit circumstantial and, again, don't tell the whole story.
"For us the evaluation is the evaluation based on the total number of plays, the overall performance of the player in those plays. How we break it down specifically, and then we try to instruct the player on what he did well, what he needs to improve on and what happened on each individual play relative to him doing his assignment and executing it. Knowing his assignment, knowing what to do and then execute it. If I could summarize it, I don't think the statistics themselves, whether it be on offense or defense, by any means, tell the whole story. But I'm not saying they're meaningless. It's somewhere in the middle there."