Bill Belichick celebrates with rocker Jon Bon Jovi after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick paid old friend Jon Bon Jovi quite the compliment Monday.
About 12 hours after his team dismantled the Steelers, 36-17, in the AFC championship in front of the rock icon, Belichick said he actually paid attention to the crowd singing to one of Bon Jovi’s greatest hits.
The Patriots coach may not have known who won the NFC championship before his team took the field Sunday but he certainly didn’t block out the music once his team got rockin’ in the third quarter.
Once LeGarrette Blount bowled in from one-yard out to make it 27-9, “Living on a Prayer” started blasting over the sound system throughout the stadium and then – on cue – the video boards showed a shot of the artist who performed the song in the suite with Rob Gronkowski. Bon Jovi smiled and then started conducting the crowd in an acapella version, which rang throughout the stadium.
“Yeah, I was definitely aware of it,” Belichick said Monday in a conference call. “Jon… I mean I’ve heard him play that song dozens of times, but he had the place rocking, maybe a little more than we did. Yeah, pretty impressive. He’s a great friend, been a great friend for a long time all the way back into the 80’s.
“We’ve shared a lot of great moments together including the 1990 Super Bowl in Tampa where he was in the locker room after the game still taking crazy pictures and stuff like that; great memories from there. It was great to have Jon here and I always appreciate his great support. Yeah, it was quite a moment, one that you usually don’t see at a professional football game. Yeah, it was special.”
Bon Jovi gave Belichick a good luck hug and peck on the cheek after the Patriots concluded their on-field warmups before heading back into their locker room one final time before kickoff. Bon Jovi, a former owner of the Philadelphia Soul (2004-08) of the Arena Football League, is a frequent visitor to Patriots training camp. But his roots with Belichick go back to his days in New Jersey with the Giants.
“Jon is a big Giants fan,” Belichick said. “He grew up in New Jersey, so when I was coaching the Giants. We had a lot in common. We both liked the Giants.”
Bon Jovi was quick to bond with Belichick but not so much Bill Parcells.
“I don’t think Bill [Parcells] was a big Bon Jovi fan or Bruce Springsteen fan or anything like that,” Belichick said. “It wasn’t exactly his musical style at that point in time. Some of the younger coaches on the staff, one in particular connected to him. [Sean] Landeta, you know Sean was another one. Sean and Jon and I – we’ve done a few things together. Yeah, back to the Jersey-Giants days.”