Bill Belichick once put Peter Boulware in the Pro Bowl to spite Art Modell, says Peyton Manning
Monday night ManningCastPeyton Manning said Bill Belichick once found an unusual way to get revenge on Art Modell, the owner who fired him as Browns coach.
According to Manning, Belichick once added Ravens quarterback Peter Boulware to the AFC Pro Bowl team because Boulware was being paid a million dollar bonus if he played in the Pro Bowl. Belichick wanted to force Modell, who moved the Browns to Baltimore and renamed them the Ravens after Belichick was fired, to pay.
“He picked Peter Boulware because he knew Art Modell would have to pay Boulware a million dollar bonus if Boulware made the Pro Bowl. Belichick HATED Modell,” Manning said.
The Pro Bowl was after the 1998 season. Belichick was the Jets’ head coach and defensive coordinator at the time, and coached that year’s AFC Pro Bowl team after Jets coach Bill Parcells stayed home, citing health reasons.
Boulware was in fact added to that year’s AFC Pro Bowl team as the AFC’s “must have player”. After determining the AFC and NFC coaches, each chose a player they thought they needed on their teams, and Boulware said at the time he was surprised to learn it was an AFC player.
“I am amazed. I really gave up on the Pro Bowl,” Boulware told him Baltimore Sun In January 1999. “I was focusing on the off-season, working, preparing for the next season. I put the Pro Bowl out of my mind. I take this as a blessing. I take this with humility. I appreciate going.”
It’s worth noting that it’s not like Belichick picked Boulware out of the blue: the coaches could only pick a “must-have” player who was named the first alternate in the opening round of Pro Bowl voting, so Belichick chose Boulware. among a few options.
But when he saw Boulware as one of his options, Belichick might consider sticking with Modell in making his decision. That’s what Manning says happened.
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