He changed the training courses to more closely resemble modern warfare.He began to approach Special Forces candidates as if he were a therapist, not an officer.Belichick's answer was as blunt as it was revealing about realities in the NFL.Here was a head coach with four Super Bowl rings, with a quarterback who plays for less than market value, who has created an entire methodology based on common sacrifice and submission of ego -- a coach with more leverage than any other in the NFL -- telling Decker he had trouble finding players willing to buy in. He grew up in a military family in the sticks of Kentucky. He played one year of football, as a 120-pound cornerback.
THE TRUCKS ARRIVED in waves, blood streaming from their beds.
Beyond that, he could discern those elusive qualities. He'd successfully reinvented the process for picking Green Berets and spent two years with the Cleveland Browns applying the same basic principles to crack the NFL character code, which teams have long tried -- and failed -- to master.
If he was right, his methodology could change the way teams considered prospects. What looked from afar like casual conversation between Belichick and Decker was actually a job interview of sorts, arranged by Michael Lombardi, a longtime NFL personnel employee who at that moment was an assistant to the Patriots' coaching staff.
Decker wanted soldiers who weren't satisfied just to become Green Berets but who wanted to be great Green Berets.
He set out to find data-driven models for identifying those soldiers.