Kliff Kingsbury and the Patriots go way back.
The former quarterback-turned-head coach of the Arizona Cardinals will be in town on Sunday, where he’ll try to beat the team that drafted him out of Texas Tech in 2003.
Kingsbury’s time with the Patriots was brief – just a single season, spent entirely on injured reserve. He was waived before the start of the 2004 season.
Kingsbury only saw action in the NFL once – on Nov. 30, 2005, with the Jets. He spent time playing with NFL Europe and in the Canadian Football League before becoming a college coach in 2008.
Flash forward to 2020, and Kingsbury is in his second year in Arizona. All this time, he’s stayed in touch with his first NFL coach, Bill Belichick.
Here’s what Kingsbury had to say about the Patriots ahead of Sunday’s game, which kicks at 1 p.m.
Yes, he has a ring
Despite spending all season on the IR, Kingsbury did pick up a Super Bowl ring after the Patriots beat the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
“Yeah, I got one of those, which was awesome to have and something that has been a lot of fun,” he said. “Especially when I was a college coach, you break it out on the recruiting visits and it was always a big hit.”
The 2004 Super Bowl was held in Kingsbury’s home state of Texas, which he said was a special part of a special week.
“It was the one with Jake Delhomme and they were going back and forth, and then Adam [Vinatieri] hit that kick late,” he said. “So, phenomenal experience, something that I’ve always cherished.”
He’s still got relationships
Kingsbury admitted that “I didn’t play to the level I needed to when I did have my chances and I knew that,” which meant his tenure with the Patriots was brief.
But he said people around the Patriots, like Nick Caserio, have “always treated me first-class.
“I learned more football than probably anywhere in my life there. So, I’ve always had great respect for that organization and those men.”
It’s all about preparation
The biggest thing he learned while with the Patriots, Kingsbury said, was how to get ready to play – even if it didn’t make sense at the time.
“Coach Belichick had you prepared for any and every situation that could possibly occur on a football field,” he said. “At times, it seemed tedious with the walk-throughs and you almost felt like he was overdoing it, but then Week 8 the actual situation would pop up and you’d be prepared for it and the entire team would handle it and find a way to win the game. So, more than anything, I’d just say preparation was at a level that I had never seen before.”
It was that, more than the Xs and Os, that Kingsbury has carried with him.
Belichick is there when Kingsbury needs him
Kingsbury said Wednesday that Belichick helps his former players try to reach their own success when they leave the team.
“He was always accessible to me and always anything I asked of or questions, he was always there,” he said. “So, you don’t really see that side of him when you’re playing. When you’re done, you definitely see the more personal side and he wants those guys to have success.”
He said they occasionally text during the offseason, and that Kingsbury heard from Belichick after he wasn’t retained at his alma mater after the 2018 season.
“He reached out to check in and that meant a lot to me,” he said Wednesday.