A Brief Appreciation Of Bill Belichick
BOSTON (CBS) – Bill Belichick doesn’t care.
He doesn’t care that you might need quotes to fill your column or sound bites for your 6 p.m. news telecast. He doesn’t care that you might think he’s being an inconsiderate, arrogant jerk, and he certainly doesn’t care if he might actually be in the process of being one.
Bill Belichick cares about one thing: The New England Patriots.
It’s his job. It’s his life. Anything that is not considered beneficial for the New England Patriots is not considered worthwhile for Bill Belichick.
In New England, after 13 seasons of seeing the same press conference happening over and over again, we know this. But on Tuesday morning, Belichick offered a reminder to the rest of the country that, quite frankly, he doesn’t care.
Dozens upon dozens of media members descended upon Gillette Stadium to cover the much-ballyhooed signing of Tim Tebow. Except Belichick wasn’t much up for much ballyhooing.
CNN aired the press conference on live TV. Radio stations did the same. The New York media was on hand, teeth clenched, hoping for some juice on the man on whom they directed way too much attention over the past year.
When Belichick signed Tebow, he no doubt knew this was coming. So the performance he put forth on that podium was perhaps his masterpiece.
Some of Belichick’s complete “answers” to questions included:
“We’ll see. I don’t know.”
“I’ve already said that. “
“I think we’ve already talked enough about him. We’ll see how he does and just go from there. “
“I think I’ve covered it.”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t have anything to add.”
“I don’t know.” (Again!)
The head coach of the Patriots was asked about the process that went into signing a player, and his answer was “I don’t know.” Twice.
Media members — or at least the out-of-towners who had flown in specifically for that — were baffled, without any usable commentary from the coach, left to scramble to put together their stories or TV packages.
It may seem rude and inconsiderate, and on one level it is, but Belichick isn’t the way he is without reason. You may have noticed the absolute joke of a media circus that surrounded Tebow and the Jets last season. SportsCenter aired its show live from Jets camp. The New York post ran a front-page image of the Jets starring in a three-ring circus. Very little coverage of the team focused on actual football, instead centering on quarterback controversy and other off-the-field nonsense. By midseason, players were giving reporters anonymous quotes about Tebow and Mark Sanchez, and the 6-10 season was an absolute mess for Rex Ryan’s team.
Belichick isn’t Rex, and he doesn’t want the mess or the distractions. And the best way to put a damper on a Tebow firestorm is to step to the podium, say Tebow is “talented” and the move was made “in the best interests of the team,” and refuse to let the side story become bigger than the football team.
“Hopefully there will be more [reporters] at the games on Sundays,” Belichick said.
There’s a reason that since Belichick arrived in Foxboro, we have seen six Bruins head coaches, five Red Sox managers, four Celtics head coaches and just one Patriots coach. He has a method to his madness. All he cares about is the job he has as head coach of the Patriots — the same Patriots who have won 72.6 percent of the regular-season games he’s coached, 70.8 percent of playoff games and three Super Bowls. That’s his main focus, and that’s where all his energy goes. You think he’s going to lose sleep because he made some entertainment reporter unhappy on a random Tuesday morning in June? Of course not.
While everyone else in the world made a big deal about the acquisition of, in all likelihood, a third-string quarterback, it was just one 24-hour period of work for Belichick, the man who really doesn’t care.