If I've said it once, I've said it a infinity times. For all of Bill Belichick's unlimited number of various geniuses, none is as awe-inspiring as his ability to make a raging controversy go away. I once saw David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty go away on live television, and it wasn't as impressive as it was watching Belichick poof potential distractions into thin air. Everything from Spygate to Deflategate to even Aaron Hernandez, got snapped into nothingness by his mighty fingers. Even a topic as benign as Tim Tebow in camp disintegrated in a day. A parking lot filled with TV trucks went empty the following day, their hard news crews unable to withstand the power of his "… best interest of the football team" answers.
And few if any stories of Belichick's tenure in Foxboro has needed him to reroute power to the Deflector Shields like his decision to bench Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII. While in the four years, since he never really totally succeeded in making the story go away, he absolutely did the on thinkable by re-signing Butler last month. Guaranteeing that both coach and player would have to answer questions about it all over again.
Today was Butler's turn. And he simply could not have done a better job of batting down the balls the reporters threw at him:
Source - Butler says he and Patriots coach Bill Belichick haven’t discussed their history together. …
Belichick benched Butler in Super Bowl LII for reasons that have still never been explained, and … says that when Belichick contacted him last month about a return, that subject did not come up.
“I ain’t got too much to say about that,” Butler said. “I’m trying to live in the present. You can’t think about the past all the time. I’ve moved forward from that. I know it’ll always be there, but I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything. …
“I didn’t expect to come back to New England, but I always had respect for the New England Patriots,” Butler said. “One thing I learned, you never burn your bridges, you handle situations as a man and as a grown-up. If I didn’t do that I don’t think I’d have the opportunity to come back here. I’m pretty sure I made a good decision by acting like a grown man.”
Perfect. Absolutely perfect answer. Not just because it helps end the conversation, but because it has the benefit of being 100% plausible.
Does anyone really think these two are the kinds of guys that want to settle their differences with openness, heart-to-heart talks and pouring their feelings out to one another? I know that's what the experts say you're supposed to do. Especially in a relationship like a marriage. But to my knowledge, it's never been tried. For damned certain it's not going to start with me.
Expressions of honest emotion sounds really good on paper. But virtually all interpersonal problems are solved by not talking about them. By delusion. Self-denial. Pretending that you didn't say the things you said, do the things you did, or stand there sobbing in front of one of the biggest television audiences of the last 10 years sobbing uncontrollably. I'm convinced this is how Butler and Belichick handled it, because this is what almost any guy whose not a guest on Dr. Phil handles their business. But forgetting the truth and burying the past.
The fact Butler is only too happy to handle the awkwardness this way is proof that he truly is a Belichick Guy. And that these two are in for a hell of a season together. Further proof that with this team, anything is possible.