Bill Belichick’s appreciation of football history and NFL Films’s timeless, compelling way of presenting it have led to several remarkable documentaries about the Patriots and their coach.
Three more are on the way, including two that premiere Wednesday night in a format that has become pleasantly familiar to Patriots fans.
The NFL Network will air “Do Your Job Part III: Bill Belichick and the 2018 Patriots” Wednesday at 8 p.m. That one-hour film will be followed by “America’s Game,’’ a look at the Patriots’ postseason run, which culminated with the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl victory and third in five years.
And further down the road in December, an upcoming collaboration between NFL Films and HBO Sports that was announced Tuesday promises to be one of the most fascinating peeks behind the Patriots’ curtain yet.
HBO will premiere “Belichick and Saban: The Art of Coaching” on Dec. 10. The 90-minute film profiles the relationship between Belichick and longtime friend Nick Saban, who was on his staff with the Cleveland Browns and is currently a legend in his own time at the University of Alabama.
Belichick and Saban met in 1982 when the latter was an assistant coach at the Naval Academy, where Belichick’s father, Steve, was a scout. They discuss their fathers’ influence in the doc, and other topics include the Browns years and how they connect with the current generation of players.
The film is directed by Ken Rodgers, who has overseen several of NFL Films’ Patriot-related programs, including the documentary on Belichick and Bill Parcells.
The two documentaries that air Wednesday night on the NFL Network — also, of course, in collaboration with NFL Films — have become familiar to Patriots fans as a standard tribute to the championship of the season before.
The Patriots may have a reputation for being private, but “Do Your Job’’ producer Joseph Zucco says they are an open book on these projects.
“As a company as a whole, we have a lot of experience with them and a really good relationship,’’ Zucco said. “I know sort of the perception of the secrecy and stuff, but they’re generally pretty open and insightful in the shows. It also helps that we’re not doing them during the season, but after they’ve won when they can savor it a little bit.”
The “Do Your Job” films typically offer behind-the-scenes looks at the strategy and preparation that go in to winning Super Bowls. The first “Do Your Job” after the 2014 season famously revealed the coaching that led to Malcolm Butler’s game-saving interception against the Seahawks. The doc on the Patriots’ comeback against the Falcons two years later revealed how the team had prepared for 2-point conversion situations, a crucial part of the rally from 28-3.
“We do our research and have our list of questions, but at the beginning of each interview, we know the best thing that’s going to come out of this show is going to be something that we don’t even know about yet,’’ Zucco said. “So we tell them, if we ask a question and it sparks something in your mind, feel free to go off track and tell us about it, because that’s sometimes the best stuff.”
This year’s “Do Your Job” takes a bit of a broader focus, with Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels breaking down in rich detail how the offense evolved over the course of the postseason and developed a power-running attack.
“It’s not necessarily a single play or sequence that sticks out in my mind as much this time as more just kind of thought process as the season went on,’’ Zucco said. “At one point Josh talks about a point in the season where Bill tells him they need to figure out not necessarily what they want to do but what they do best, and that’s how they came to realize a power-running approach could really be the way to go.
“America’s Game: 2018 Patriots” will immediately follow “Do Your Job III.” That film series traditionally recounts a playoff run through the words of three players who each are interviewed for two hours. This year’s “America’s Game” has a twist: There are four Patriots players participating: Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman (for the third time, most of any player), and the McCourty twins, Jason and Devin.
“Having Jason and Devin together was great,’’ said Brian Rosenfeld, who produced “America’s Game.” “It was first time that we’ve had two people interviewed at once, and that offered a bit of different dynamic, but it was a pleasure seeing how they interact.
“There’s a great moment when Jason is talking about his pass breakup late in the Super Bowl, and it’s a cool thing to watch to see how Devin is looking at him as he describes the play. The brotherly love there and happiness for each other comes through.”