Belichick and I Bonded at His Playoff Press Conference
You might think the life of a Barstool writer is easy. That it’s all prestige and respect. Adventure and intrigue. Excitement and glamor. Of strangers thanking you for your service, men paying for your drinks and bra clasps undoing themselves at the snap of your fingers. And to be sure, that is my reality. But it needs to be earned. Sometimes it means actually getting out of the plush confines of Stately Thornton Manner, trading in my pajamas and smoking jacket and putting on actual clothes in order to join the great unwashed of the New England media. With great power comes great responsibility. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Our pets heads are falling off. Or whatever.
Well today is just such a day. I made the trek to Gillette to enter the white hot crucible of the first Bill Belichick playoff press conference and face the fire. And by “fire,” I mean the warm, glowing, glowing warmth that comes from having the intellectual and emotional bond The Hooded One and I do. Which is clearly visible in the part of that video where I ask him a question.
Anyway, to save you the 15 minutes it would take you to watch the video, here are a few of the highlights, some paraphrased and some as verbatim as I could get them. Belichick on:
The Chargers: They are really good. That’s why they’ve won 13 games.
Phillip Rivers: Also good. Very efficient…Really good. Outstanding.”
Keenan Allen: “As good a receiver as there is in the National Football League. … He can do it all, it doesn’t matter where you put him, he’s a problem. [He’s] been the most productive receiver by far.”
Derwin James: “I think he leads their team in everything.”
The similarities between Allen and Williams: “Williams??? [awkward pause] There’s two of them. Which Williams? [prolonged death stare]”
Mike Pouncey: He wouldn’t say whether Pouncey makes all the calls but did praise him for being quick enough to pull and get up to the second level to block middle linebackers, which very few centers can do.
Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram: They move around a lot and switch sides, according to the front they’re employing.
On my question about the Chargers use of seven defensive backs and how often he’s faced that look: “Well, again, it’s within kind of the same system. They played mostly six DBs against us last year, so they’ve been doing a lot of it this year. They went with the seventh guy against the Ravens, but it’s been a lot of six defensive backs the last, I don’t know, month or so. Jatavis Brown played a lot in their six D-back system, so they just kind of replaced him with [Jahleel] Addae or with actually the safety, [Rayshawn] Jenkins. Jenkins didn’t play down – Jenkins played back, Addae played down, but it was essentially the same defense with Addae taking Brown’s spot.”
And the rest was a lot of blah bitty blah blah, once Belichick was done giving a cogent, thoughtful, in-depth answer to an intelligent question posed by fellow football coach, the press conference was pretty much over. Because he respects a guy with 11 years of experience as defensive assistant on the JV squad of a youth football program. And once we were done, there wasn’t much more to say and he bailed.
So it was worth the trip to Foxboro I suppose. If for no other reason then I showed the others how it’s done. And maybe I’ll be back before the AFC title game, though I’ll probably just wait to talk to him again on the team plane to Atlanta in three week. It’s the next logical step in our relationship.