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Belichick Praises Larry Fitzgerald by Comparing Him to a QB Legend. Just Not the One You Think.

Elise Amendola. Shutterstock Images.

Thanksgiving. It's a time for gratitude. For being with loved ones. For appreciating what Lincoln referred to as "fruitful fields and healthful skies" and "the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union." A time of feasting and football and consequence-free overindulgence. And, in the case of my in-laws (whom I don't have to visit this year, praise be to quarantining), it's the time when they perfect the passive/aggressiveness they've worked all year on. 

I think it's common among a lot of families. You can only spend so many decades with someone before you either want to take a subtle, backhanded verbal slap at them, or they take your otherwise harmless comment as a backhanded verbal slap at them. It's almost unavoidable.

I mention this because today Bill Belichick was asked about one of the greatest wide receivers ever to walk the Earth. And his answer could be taken one of two ways.

Q: Have you ever had a chance to spent time with Larry Fitzgerald? If you have, what have been some of your impressions of him as a person and as a player?

BB: Yeah, well I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Larry. Larry’s a very dedicated football player. He works extremely hard. He’s very knowledgeable in all phases of the game, but particularly the passing game and techniques, training, fundamentals. He’s, I would say, to receivers what Peyton Manning was to quarterbacks in terms of that type of total obsession of knowing everything about the position and how to do things and how to convey those to his teammates.

That ought to go over well. He's looking for an example of a quarterback who's dedicated, extremely hard working, knowledgeable about the passing game and techniques, training and fundamentals and obsessed about knowing everything about the position and how to convey those things to teammates. And his mental retrieval system reaches into the bin and pulls out a Peyton Manning reference. To keep the metaphor going, this is your mother-in-law talking about how impressive her girlfriend's son-in-law is while you're sitting right there. Oh, Barry is so successful and accomplished! Betty just adores him and her grandchildren are such prodigies! Did I tell you he won the club championship? while you're pouring another glass of Cabernet with gravy all over your tie and your phone out setting your Fantasy lineup. Except in this case the guy he's overlooking bugged out after last year's meal and is down on the Gulf Coast feasting on gluten free vegetarian lasagna and dehydrated algae because he didn't feel appreciated enough last Thanksgiving. 

Personally, I don't see it this way, but my guess is that puts me in the minority. Belichick always praised Peyton Manning. Even in those glorious early days of the Dynasty when he had a monopoly on the real estate inside Manning's head. Anyone who'll want to make this out to be him throwing passive shade at Tom Brady for not using him as the example of a hardworking, knowledge-obsessed QB would be the first - and the loudest - to scream that he was taking a shot at Cam Newton if he had. Belichick is that guy who sees the big picture and understands how his words will be twisted and therefore avoids stepping in it. Like a comic with a good filter for knowing who and what he can reference and not get in trouble. I think he undoubtedly is still harboring lingering resentment, but that's not the motivation here. Unless it is. Which would be something right out of my Thanksgivings and I'd appreciate the hell out of it. But it's not. I promise. 

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who also doesn't have to travel to someone's house they'd rather avoid. Finally this year gives us something to be thankful for.