Super Bowl LIII

From tenuous start, Belichick, Scarnecchia & Fears walked long path together to NFL success with Patriots

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Dante Scarnecchia, left, Ivan Fears, right (Getty Images)

ATLANTA — It has been a long journey to this point for Bill Belichick, Dante Scarnecchia and Ivan Fears.

The head coach and his two longest-serving assistants — the only two members of the New England coaching staff who predate Belichick’s tenure as New England’s head coach — will wrap up their 17th season together at Super Bowl LIII. (Scarnecchia’s two-year retirement in 2014 and ’15 being the only interruption in their tenure as a group.)

On Thursday, in the final media availability of the season, the trio reflected on the time they’ve spent together. It all started in 2000 when Belichick was hired as the head coach of the Patriots, and Fears and Scarnecchia were holdovers from Pete Carroll’s old coaching staff. Belchick knew Scarnecchia from their time together as assistant coaches on the 1996 staff under Bill Parcells, a group Belichick called “a great, great staff.”