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Bill Belichick's Original Tight End Combo Was With Lions In 1970s

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The New England Patriots have set the NFL on fire this season thanks largely to tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Defenses haven't been able to figure out how to solve the matchup problems created by the tight ends, who have put up some ridiculous numbers during the 2011 season.

Interestingly enough, Bill Belichick's plans to use this type of offense actually originated in Detroit when he was an assistant for the Lions. As recounted in a great article by Jason Cole, before Gronkowski and Hernandez, Belichick's combination of tight end threats was Charlie Sanders and David Hill on the Lions.

"Yeah, that was really the first – I mean, honestly there wasn’t a lot of two tight ends in the mid-70s, there really wasn’t," Belichick said. "There was one tight end in the game and occasionally teams used two tight ends in short yardage, but that’s kind of where the two tight ends and one [running] back [started]. And then [coach Don] Coryell and San Diego and so forth, it became a little more prevalent. But when we had Charlie Sanders and David Hill at Detroit, those two guys were pretty good."

Sanders said in the article that he never thought about what Belichick was trying to do back then, but now that he sees the Patriots offense this year, he can understand where this all originated from.