Disparage - regard or represent as being of little worth.
"He never missed an opportunity to disparage his competitors"
synonyms:belittle, denigrate, deprecate, trivialize, make light of, undervalue, underrate, play down.
Since the 2007 Spygate controversy, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been referred to as “Beli-cheat” a number of times, but usually by fans of rival teams. Not by Hall of Fame coaches.
But that’s the name Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, uses to refer to Belichick.
Don Shula was the head coach of the 1969 Baltimore Colts team that missed the playoffs. Following the season, Joe Robbie, owner of the Miami Dolphins, signed Don Shula to a contract to become Miami's head coach. Miami was charged with tampering by the NFL, which forced the Dolphins to give their first round pick to the Colts. Baltimore selected RB Don McCauley from the University of North Carolina as compensation for tampering.
Just as Don Shula thought we forgot about his maneuver to skip town on the Baltimore Colts, he thinks we have forgotten about his undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. He finds it necessary to belittle New England head coach, Bill Belichick. The Patriots in Super Bowl XLII came within 35 seconds of completing an undefeated season at 19-0.
Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel interviewed Shula on his 85th birthday, and when the subject of Belichick came up, “Beli-cheat?” Shula says. There is no mention of any other NFL coach, only the one that "achieved his success by less than sportsmanlike means."
Shula's Baltimore Colts of 1965 were eliminated by Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, but there is no animosity toward Vince. The 13-10 OT game ended on a controversial 25 yard field goal by Packers' K Don Chandler. Video replays showed that the kick appeared to be wide right. The following week the Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns for the NFL title, their third under Vince Lombardi and first of three straight.
The Packers, who had for years eschewed late-season home games because of the cold winters, would play host to the Cowboys in a game that would mark the coldest New Year's Eve in the history of Green Bay and the coldest title game in the history of the NFL. The game-time temperature at Lambeau Field was about −15 degrees with an average wind chill around −48 for the 1967 Ice Bowl. On the sidelines before the game, some Dallas players believed that Lombardi had purposely removed power to the heating coils.
Lambeau Field's turf-heating system malfunctioned, and when the tarpaulin was removed from the field before the game, it left moisture on the field, which flash-froze in the extreme cold, leaving an icy surface that got worse as more and more of the field fell into the shadow of the stadium.
Don Shula must have the December 12, 1982 Dolphins-Patriots Snow Plow game linked to Bill Belichick. That was the New England 3-0 victory when work release snow plow operator, Mark Henderson cleared a path for John Smith's winning field goal. Vince Lombardi would have had him clear the whole field, if necessary.
Isn't it ironic that the winningest college coach(Joe Paterno) and the winningest professional coach(Don Shula) both showed their true colors at age 85?
I like the former Don Shula better than the latter.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.