Does This Incomparable Genius Look Nervous to You?
The start of Training Camp: 2021 is a mere two days away. And to hear most of the pundits talk about it, it's the most crucial one in Bill Belichick's unparalleled career. "Make or break," according to some.
The wolves that have been circling him for decades looking for their chance to pounce are seeing a slight limp, a minor stumble, the glassy eyes and foamy mouth of a wounded prey they can target. Even some of the hypocrites who spent years saying Tom Brady isn't that good and he was just lucky to have Coach Bill are revising history by saying last year proves they were right all along, that Coach Bill is the fraud who was lucky to have Tom. And adding that this season will prove it once and for all.
So what does the man at the center of all this do? He goes to the Hamptons for Mr. Kraft's birthday party and calmly and casually steals the show.
According to Page Six, Dave Rubin threw this bash for our mutual friend RKK's 80th. And it's easier to name the names of the VIPs who weren't there than call the roll of the ones who were.
Adele and her new boyfriend Rich Paul were [there] ... where Lionel Richie performed and David Spade did stand-up, we hear — along with A-list guests including Jon Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Meek Mill, Billie Jean King and Gayle King. ...
Also at the bash for 200 close friends and family were entertainment bigwigs David Zaslav, Shari Redstone, Ari Emanuel and Casey Wasserman, as well as business moguls Ken Langone, Richard LeFrak, Barry Sternlicht, Bill Ford, Greg Mondre, Ben Horowitz, Bobby Kotick, Marc Casper, José E. Almeida and Mary Erdoes, plus real estate entrepreneur David Adelman and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
From the sports world were NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and MLS commissioner Don Garber, plus Chargers owner Dean Spanos, 76ers co-owner Josh Harris, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and Bucks owner Marc Lasry.
Pats coach Bill Belichick was also at the soiree, along with past and present New England players Julian Edelman, Andre Tippett, Devin McCourty and Drew Bledsoe.
Everyone, I guess who has permission to call him "RKK," with the exception of one. Which is fine. Some of have plans of our own and the Hamptons are a pain in the crack to get to. No disrespect taken. Because the point here is Belichick.
On the verge of a season that is supposedly pivotal to his career and his legacy. Where the stakes are reportedly no less than a referendum on his entire body of work. He's been in the NFL since 1975 and a head coach starting in 1991 and the conventional wisdom says he's either going to validate himself or be exposed as a scam artist. Beginning in about 48 hours.
And how does he seem? Let's look again, without having to scroll back.
There aren't enough o's in the word smooth to describe this. Shades casually pulled up like a gameday headset. Looking like the cover model of Summer Blazers magazine. Like he's there to accept the Man of the Year award from the Filthy Rich Resort Areas Mansion Owner's Association. With his girlfriend on his arm. Hot enough to roast a turkey from across the yard with her eyes and a smile so bright the FAA has banned her from flight paths for blinding pilots.
Oh, really? This is a critical year for him? If it doesn't work out, everything he's ever accomplished is suspect? He's got to sort out his quarterback situation between a veteran former MVP who struggled last year and a promising, but unproven 22-year-old. His co-offensive line coach just quit over the vaccination requirements. And there are rumors Brian Hoyer is doing likewise. And the situation with Stephon Gilmore's contract is still unresolved.
But look at that demeanor. The very picture of calm. Of grace under fire. Since the moment the final gun of the Super Bowl started, life has been one W after another. He went scorched earth in free agency. Made unprecedented upgrades at tight end and wide receiver. Added crucial pieces at all three levels of the defense. As expected, he lost his best O-lineman in Joe Thuney and traded his right tackle. And still improved the unit overall. The future (possibly present) franchise quarterback fell in his War Room lap without having to move up to get him. Then he moved up to get the best interior pass rusher in the draft about 20 slots after he was expected to go.
Those eyes and that slight smirk are the look of a man who knows he's accomplished all he set out to do in the offseason. And while he's at peace with all his decisions and relaxing in the Hamptons with the woman he loves and the men he respects most, he's just hours away from doing the thing he truly loves more than being at peace, relaxing, or looking like the couple you see in a Sandals resort brochure:
This was just the deep breath before it gets real. And it can't come soon enough. See you on the practice field Wednesday. Do. Your. Job.