The personalities might be radically different, but New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday he believes the beloved former Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson played a role in his success.

While reminiscing about MacPherson – the Old Town native and former Patriots coach who died on Tuesday at age 86 – Belichick noted that the Syracuse coach’s connections have played a role in one of the NFL’s greatest dynasties.

New England has won five Super Bowl titles under Belichick, who ticked off connections with MacPherson during a press conference with Patriot reporters. The list of members from the MacPherson tree currently with the Patriots includes its running backs coach and its defensive coordinator.

Ivan Fears, the running backs coach, worked with Syracuse wide receivers under MacPherson. Matt Patricia, the coordinator, is a step removed, having trained under MacPherson’s assistant Paul Pasqualoni.

“I knew Dick when he was the head coach at Syracuse,” Belichick said. “A lot of people on his staff we’ve had interconnections with in one way or another. Ivan (Fears), Mike (Woicik), Scott (Pioli), Joel Collier, Randy (Edsall), Paul Pasqualoni, George DeLeone, (Matt) Patricia, (Dante) Scar(necchia).

“He had a good impact on the game, good impact on this organization, both when he was here, and many of the people here worked with him and learned under him. I put myself under that category as well because of my work with all those guys. … Thought he did a great job with the Syracuse program and the coaching staff he had there, virtually all of them went to the NFL and beyond, and had successful careers.”

Naturally, MacPherson’s personality came up as well.

“Great guy, great person, really funny guy who got along well with everybody,” Belichick said. “When you visited Dick at Syracuse you had to bring a couple dozen doughnuts or he wouldn’t let you in, so the first stop was always doughnuts. If you didn’t have them, he’d send you out to get them. He was a good man.”

PATRIOTS: New England’s purchase of two spacious jet airplanes will make them the league’s first team to fly their own planes to games.

The new 767 Boeing wide-body planes, estimated to cost about $10 million, are decked out with the team logo and five Lombardi trophies.

When they’re not being used by the team to get to road games, the Patriots will reportedly rent the aircraft out.

One of the jets is expected to be used to take the team on the road, the other will serve as a backup.

FALCONS: Devonta Freeman and the defending NFC champions agreed to terms on a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension, making Freeman the highest-paid running back in the league in terms of the overall package.

It includes a $15 million signing bonus and $22 million in guaranteed money.

Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy had been the highest-paid back with a five-year, $40 million deal signed in 2015.

THE NFL will hire up to 24 full-time game officials.

The league will begin hiring between 21 and 24 full-time officials from among the current roster of 124 officials for this season.

“We believe this is a great development for NFL officiating overall and ultimately the quality of our game,” said NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. “We share a common goal, which is to make our game as great as it can possibly be, and look forward to working together on this new effort.”

Full-time officials will be hired at each of the seven officiating positions and may serve on each of the 17 officiating crews. They will work collaboratively with their assigned crews, the league officiating staff and the NFL’s football-related committees during the offseason.

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