By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — In Foxboro, football is serious business. Bill Belichick is a serious man. Winning is the goal, and anything that gets in the way of winning must be eliminated.

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Oh, and also: There’s a fart machine that has the coaching staff in stitches at any given moment.

That behind-the-scenes nugget was exposed on Tuesday, when the Patriots’ assistant coaches met with the media via Zoom. When wide receivers/kick returners coach Troy Brown began his session, he immediately fell victim to a prank from his fellow coaches. Though Brown was muted at the time, he revealed what had just taken place.

“Well, Jerod [Mayo] and Steve [Belichick], they’ve got this farting machine,” Brown said. “And they put it down some place. If you don’t know what’s going on, you would think somebody is in the room farting. I was in the room by myself just now, so I figured it had to be them.”

Safeties coach Brian Belichick laughed when a reporter informed him that Brown had been pranked during his press conference.

“Did they get that on camera? Oh, man. Wowwwww,” Brian Belichick said. “Wow, they did him dirty like that, huh?”

Brian Belichick said he’s never fallen victim to the machine — “They tried a little bit; I caught on pretty quickly” — but that not everyone in the halls of 1 Patriot Place has been so lucky.

“That machine’s been making its rounds for, I’d say, about a month now,” he said. “So they’ve been working it [on] different guys.”

Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo both spoke to the media before the execution of that dastardly deed, so they avoided questions about their tomfoolery. But receivers coach Mick Lombardi did face some questions about the fart machine, and he spilled the beans, explaining that the shenanigans are solely the doing of the defensive coaches.

“I have no fingerprints on the fart machine. That’s a defensive thing,” Lombardi professed. “I’m just happy they didn’t get me and they got TB. Because, I mean, they probably knew they could get TB, because he’s pretty easygoing. But I have not been victim to it. I’ve got my fingers crossed though, because Jerod and Steve, when they’re together, I mean, all bets are off. Because they’re always up to something.”

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Lombardi then explained how he is now living in fear of being the next victim.

“I have actually never seen it before, so I mean, they’re probably looking to get me,” Lombardi said. “So I’m going to walk out of this room making sure I got all eyes and I’m ready to go. Because I mean, knowing them, they’ll probably get me at the 2:30 staff meeting here later this afternoon with Bill in there. So I just hope I don’t get got.”

That brought up an important question: Has anyone ever dared to prank the head coach?

“Not at any full staff meeting — maybe at a defensive staff thing or a defensive meeting, but not that I’ve seen,” Lombardi said. “Maybe they’re saving it for,  you know, a big win. Hopefully, maybe after this Cleveland win.”

Obviously, such a machine is a bit chidlish. But Lombardi explained the importance of the mood being lightened whenever possible.

“It’s a long season. There’s a lot of weeks and there’s a lot of time we all spend together. I spend more time with these guys in here than I do my family, obviously. And if you can’t joke and laugh for a few minutes a day, then it’s going to be a tough, long year,” Lombardi said. “So those guys — Jerod especially, you guys know Jerod, he does a great job of keeping things light and keeping things pretty fun and doesn’t take anything too seriously. And when you’re in the dog days of the season, especially on a Tuesday, a long game plan day, when you can sit and laugh and joke around a little bit, it makes it fun.”

He added: “When it’s time to work, we work. And when it’s time to joke around, we definitely take advantage of it.”

That is … rather normal, even if a fart machine might not be the standard method of stress relief in most offices. It’s also not something that anyone on the outside would ever expect to exist inside the building that is run by Bill Belichick.

Perhaps the presence of a pair of Belichick sons on the coaching staff allows for some more pushing of the envelope. Perhaps Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo simply love a good fart machine. We’ll find out in due time, surely.

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For now, all of those assistant coaches, when not pranking coworkers or getting pranked with a fart machine, are hard at work. The juvenile antics of a recorded fart noise can’t distract them from the task at hand. This week, they are looking to maintain a winning streak, trying to keep their focus sharp while exuding a sense of professionalism, as they prepare the team to play … the Browns. (Oh, come on. Really? Of all weeks.)