Patriots' Belichick – the NFL's Alex Ferguson (AFP)

It’s small wonder that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been described as the Alex Ferguson of the National Football League. Whether it’s his often dour, taciturn news conference demeanour or his relentless pursuit of silverware, the similarities between Belichick and the iconic former Manchester United manager are striking. In terms of longevity, Belichick, like Ferguson, who spent 27 years at Old Trafford, is in a league of his own.