By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — When Bill Belichick stands at the podium — or, in the era of COVID-19, sits in front of a computer screen for a video conference — there are certain lines of questioning that almost always lead to a short answer. One such avenue is a question about a player or person from the past, someone who no longer has any impact on what’s best for the football team, and someone who has nothing to do with the current state of the New England Patriots.

So, when a reporter on Friday morning posed a question to Belichick asking if it’s strange to not see Tom Brady in the building on a daily basis, a very brief non-answer seemed like it was in the cards.

Belichick, though, gave a surprisingly lengthy answer.

“Well we’ve had a lot of great, great players over the course of that time. You could have the same conversation about all of them – Tedy Bruchi, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Logan Mankins, Rob [Gronkowski]. You could go right down the line,” Belichick said. “So, it’s professional football. It’s the National Football League. Every team has changes every year. We have ’em, so does everybody else. I think right now, everybody’s focused on this year.”

Obviously, despite the varied level of greatness of some of those players Belichick mentioned and others he did not, none have the stature or impact or general football aura of Tom Brady. Winning six Super Bowls tends to have that effect.

Still, a hallmark of Belichick’s dynastic tenure in Foxboro has been to try to keep everything consistent, no matter the circumstances and no matter the inevitability of change. So even after saying farewell to the greatest player at the most important position in team sports after a two-decade-long journey, the coach’s outlook remains the same.

“We’re looking ahead. We’re not looking backwards at anything,” Belichick said. “We’re trying to look ahead and look at what are our opportunities, challenges that we have coming forward this season in the 2020 season. So that’s really where our focus is.”

It obviously wasn’t an earth-shattering answer by any means, but his consideration of the question shows that Belichick understands that the departure of Brady is unlike any other that came before it or will come after it.

Comments (4)
  1. lizzzy321 says:

    This response from BB is annoying. And I don’t get the point of view of the author of this article saying his response shows that he understands that the departure of Brady is unlike every other. He certainly has always taken the point of view that on a team everyone is important, each player contributes and he didn’t want any ‘stars’ expecting special treatment. And I’ve always felt that point of view contributes to everyone on the team feeling a part of the team. But, everyone’s contribution is not EQUAL. And his attempt to downplay Brady who he claims is just like everyone else, to me is disrespectful and disingenuous. Brady put in 20 years with the same team and what other player has done that? And he did that because BB recognized he had more contribution to the success of the team than others who came and went. And it makes me understand better, why Tom Brady moved on. I hope he has success with the Bucs.

    1. ozone1030 says:

      Good post Lizzzy! That captures a sentiment that exists in knowledgeable fans who were there in the beginning when Brady turned the tide after Bledsoe went down in the failed start season .Belichick had going in his second year at the helm of the Patriots.
      After that, Brady was the pied piper who made Belichick’s job so easy in regards to being able to coach harder and have his players accept it. Those fans also know there is more than covid behind the reasons so many patriot players opted out this year.
      The Glory days are done for BIll! Belichick is going to “fall off a cliff” and it doesn’t matter how much credit he is still trying to take from Brady, it is unavoidable and I believe Bill can already sense that. By the time Bill catches Shula’s record for wins it will be clear to all that the majority of the wins were on Brady’s back. Basically an unwritten but much talked about asterisk on his coaching career. So happy Brady had the nerve to do what he did before it was too late.

    2. jrterrier5 says:

      Agree wholeheartedly with lizzzy321 and Arch Stanton.

  2. Arch Stanton says:

    Dude, that’s still a non-answer. I know sport reporters are desperate for material (and Hurley, you’re my favorite Boston sports guy…despite believing the Corona hoax) but this is a typical BB non-answer.

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