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It's a Christmas Miracle: Belichick Apologizes to the Media for Being Mean to Them

"I'll just start off here. Look, fellas, I apologize. I seemed like I was a little short with you after the game. Obviously, a frustrating game. Down 20-0, we didn't do anything well enough. There isn't really much to say at that point without watching the film. Clearly, we had problems in every area. There was no simple answer. Every play could have been better. Every area of coaching could have been better. Every area of playing could have been better. Any of that would have helped. Not really trying to be short, but honestly, there wasn't too much to say. I don't know there's a whole lot more to say now, but it's not your fault. It was a frustrating game."

- William Stephen "Bill" Belichick, December 20, 2021

Mark this down for posterity. Because it is an event and a date that should be remembered for as long as living things walk this spinning blue orb. To steal a phrase from John Adams writing about the Boston Tea Party, it is an Epocha in Human History. 

Speaking of history, I believe I can say, without fear of contradiction, that no one has dedicated more of his life these last 20-plus years chronicling the epic saga of the Belichick Dynasty. And yet as I sit here wracking my over-caffeinated brain, I can't ever recall a moment when he apologized to the media. Not sincerely, anyway. He's perfected the art of the sarcastic, "Sorry if that's not enough for you" reply. And I can honestly say that after giving me a radio interview on a day where he was being particularly crankypants and giving monosyllabic answers, he sort of self-deprecatingly admitted off air he wasn't being much help. (Note: I never cared about verbose, witty answers to my inane questions. I never asked for Norm MacDonald for a coach. I just wanted wins and championships. And he's still delivering.) But as far as my memory as a semi-reliable Patriots historian goes, this is unprecedented in all the annals of Belichick in New England. 

And frankly, it's unnerving. On a casual Monday presser after a tough loss, we're looking for a surly, combative, diabolical genius to stand before us, establish his sexual dominance, and command the room and reassure us that there will not be a repeat of Saturday night's failures. No one was expecting Sean Maguire to take the podium:

Giphy Images.

Just to define the terms, this is the subject of the apology:

As far as these post-loss pressers go, this was about a 7.5 on the Uncooperative Bill Scale. We've all seen him burp the alphabet for five minutes and then use his Dark Side Sith Lord powers to Force lightning to wipe out the Boston Globe football staff. And we love it. It's not only great theater, it demonstrates once again that the focus of this coach - and by extension this entire organization - is to win, and nothing else. No one spends a hot second worrying about how they're being perceived. No one burns mental calories it takes to figure out how to curry favor. The collective media has vilified this coach and this franchise since maybe a few months after they first became champions. That was a very short honeymoon they got in 2002. But lions do not concern themselves with the opinion of sheep. So since then it's been Game On. 

So having Belichick suddenly pivot to being nice to these bleating, woolen quadrupeds is not something we're accustomed to. And I'm sure they're not exactly OK with it, either. For decades, people paid good money to hear Don Rickles insult everyone in the room. He had an unparalleled gift for it. And the only part of his act I never liked was when he would admit it's all in good fun and he really likes everyone. Which they knew was true. But the audience wasn't there for heartfelt sincerity. They wanted to taste blood. 

That's what a Belichick press availability it supposed to be too. And I can only assume that this was nothing more than him being overcome by the joys of the holiday season. This was the Christmas Spirit taking hold of him. It's a time of Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men. To being charitable to those in need. And extending kindness to the least among us. 

Besides, he should be in a mood like this, in spite of Saturday's loss. A year ago, he was being counted out. The consensus opinion was that his time for winning was over. That it would take him forever to rebuild his franchise. That he couldn't attract free agents and had no talent for drafting and everyone was leaving his organization. But he woke up this morning with his franchise quarterback for the next 20 years, a talented young crop of rookies and second-year players. As well as the No. 2 seed in the AFC. So why not hand out a gift to the assembled street urchins in front of him like Scrooge tossing a shilling to a random kid and telling him to go buy that Christmas goose in the butcher shop window? 

And in case you're still worried about Belichick suddenly doing a 180 and becoming Mr. Nice Coach like he's Pete fricking Carroll or someone, please note that he went out of his way to go hard after TY Hilton for this incident:

On Kyle Dugger's ejection:

 BB: We've talked about those situations. We talk about them every year. We talk about them multiple times throughout the course of the year. When I see what happened, not sure how anybody will see it. It doesn't really matter what I think anyways. We'll go through it. Based on the rule, I don't see why T.Y. Hilton wasn't ejected. He pushed an official. That was pretty clear, but that wasn't called at all. That's a clear-cut ejection to me. The Dugger play, [Michael] Pittman comes from behind, Kyle turns around, there's an exchange, and his helmet was off. He was trying to put his helmet on as he approached Kyle at the end of the play, so he came up pretty quickly. I don't know whether Kyle knocked it off or if it would've come off anyway. Bottom line is both players got ejected. I would say I understand that. Whether I agree with that or not, that's a whole other discussion. I don't understand why T.Y. Hilton wasn't ejected for contacting an official. Intentionally or unintentionally, that has no bearing on the play. Those plays are reviewable and are reviewed, so I don't understand that one. You'd have to talk to the officials about that. They were the ones that made the call. 

Ah … that's the stuff. That's the angry little South Pole Elf we've come to know and love. The apology to the media was just out of the spirit of joy for all that he's been given this year. But the man hasn't changed. Thank God.