Bill Belichick Had a Real Case of the Mondays
Two media appearances saw the Patriots coach at his most prickly.
As we all know, when Bill Belichick does not like the questions he’s being asked by reporters, he does not hide it. And thus did the Patriots coach spent much of his Monday gritting his teeth and doing his best to be of no use to anyone.
His exchange with NFL.com’s Albert Breer regarding the status of Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola at a Monday press conference has received widespread attention as a towering example of Belichick at his most Belichicky. Watch the video beginning at the 1:38 mark:
AB: How close was Rob Gronkowski to playing yesterday?
BB: I don’t know. He was inactive.
AB: Did he have a shot to play?
BB: He was inactive.
AB: Going into the day, was there a chance he’d play or did you guys know…?
BB: He was inactive for the game.
AB: What about Danny Amendola?
BB: He was inactive too.
AB: I know they were inactive, so did either of …
BB: They were inactive so they didn’t play.
AB: I think you have an idea how close they were.
BB: Well, they weren’t able to play. What do you want, percentage points?
AB: Well I mean—
BB: They couldn’t play.
AB: Going into the day, did you know they couldn’t play?
BB: They were inactive.
AB: That doesn’t answer my question.
BB: They were inactive, it’s as simple as that.
Later on, old Stonewall Belichick turned up to WEEI for his weekly appearance, where he engaged with the Salk and Holley Show hosts in an admittedly silly line of questioning that the hosts belabored for way too long. Instead of stonewalling them with non-answers, he actually got a little frustrated with the questions. Witness, or listen to the audio beginning at about 4:00:
Q: I get the sense that if you name a team that’s like the worst team in the NFL, no matter what the circumstances are, I get the sense that you would find a way to say something good about that team, or to think what that team does well. Is it simply you’re preparing for that team’s best even if that team hasn’t shown it?
BB: Well of course you always prepare for your opponents’ best. What else would you prepare for? They’re going to come in here and turn over a ball eight times? I mean, you don’t prepare for that. You prepare for a team to come in here and play their best football against you, and how are you going to play your best football against them? [He stresses the point for a few more sentences.]
Q: You expect them to play well? I’m not saying this is the case with the Bucs, but some teams haven’t played well, but you still expect it when you play them?
BB: Of course. Why would you think they wouldn’t?
Q: If they haven’t done it …
BB: So what? That doesn’t mean anything. They’ve done something. I mean, they’ve done something. Things they’ve done well, doesn’t mean that this week they can’t do a lot of things well if they’ve shown they’ve done things in spurts or in one phase of the game or another. It would be irresponsible to coach a team and tell them, “OK fellas, the team that’s coming in here is not going to play well. So we should expect them to play a bad game, so why don’t we play one that’s just a little better than their bad game?” I think I’d be totally irresponsible. I can’t imagine any coach ever doing that. I mean I couldn’t imagine that. So I wouldn’t know how to prepare a team the way you’re talking about. I couldn’t even fathom that.
Q: Is that a lesson you learned the hard way? Is that something you learned early in your career or from a coach? Someone you worked under? Or is it just something you’ve always believed?
Side note: Why on earth is he asking this question?! Was “I couldn’t even fathom that” unclear?
BB: Yeah I couldn’t see it any other way. How could you coach a team like that? I mean I don’t even know how—you explain it to me. How could you coach a team like that? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe you can help me out. I mean really, how do you coach them like that? You tell me.
Q: … Coach a team to say ‘this team is going to fall apart?’
BB: You tell me what you’re going to tell them.
Q: If you’re playing a bad team, then it’s tough to say, ‘This team is capable of doing X, Y, Z.”
BB: Like when we were 12 and 1 and went down to Miami, and they were 1 and 12 and they beat us Monday night in ’04? Is that what you’re talking about? Like it could never happen? I mean what game are we talking about here? I mean, I just don’t understand it. To me it’s just the most irresponsible thing I’ve ever heard of. I can’t even fathom it.
Yowza! This was, admittedly, an inane series of questions to engage Bill in, but is there anyone else who would be more vocally, awkwardly unreceptive to it than Bill Belichick? This is so painful to listen to that it just might be the most fun you’ll ever have.