Linebacker Chad Brown was an instrumental part of the Blitzburgh days of the 1990s Steelers. Forged through the passion of head coach Bill Cowher, Brown joined Levon Kirkland, Greg Lloyd and Hall of Fame finalist Kevin Greene to help make up the nucleus of one of the best defensive teams of that decade.
Brown describes Cowher's approach as ‘Punch somebody in the mouth before they punch you in the mouth, let’s overwhelm people with how hard we play,’ that type of mentality," he told Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette recently.
But, and he apologizes for it, according to Bouchette, the best coach he had was Bill Belichick, for whom Brown played one year in 2007.
"Where Bill Belichick was very much ‘Let’s make the right play.’ In every single situation, there is a right play, not the athletic play, not the spectacular play, there is a right play, trying to get everyone on his team to understand what that right play is and when to pull out that right play. It is so much more a cerebral kind of football than an aggressive, overwhelm-people-kind of football," he told Bouchette.
"In fact, when I got there in my 13th year, Bill Belichick said, ‘Why are you playing so fast? Slow down.’ I said, ‘Bill, when I got to the Steelers, I was just taught to play as hard as I possibly could every single play.’"
Brown made it to New England right in time for the SpyGate scandal, as well as the team's near-undefeated season. Brown didn't claim any knowledge of the situation.
"At no point did I see any cheating or shenanigans going on. I just saw the hardest-working group of football people I have ever been around. Their success is much more due to that than any other bending of the rules."
Before that, Brown was in Pittsburgh for the 2006 season, Cowher's last in Pittsburgh. Cowher would retire after the 2006 season, replaced by Mike Tomlin.