Bill Belichick is Pulling Out All the Stops for Week 1 in Miami and I am Here for All of It

Doug Murray. Shutterstock Images.

As I said here a few days ago, I'm prepared for the Patriots getting off to a slow start. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, metaphysically ready. They are still in the process of transitioning from what they once were to what they intend to be. The offense they're installing is meant for sustained success, and not necessarily immediate dividends. Change takes time, and if you want instant gratification, so surf TikTok. And the makers of the early season schedule were not kind to them. Beginning with opening the season in Miami. 

There's been a weird dynamic with the Patriots on the road in South Beach. In good times and in bad for both teams, they've struggled there. It stopped being an anomaly years ago, went through the stage of just being a fad, and became a full on historical trend. They're 2-7 at Rock Hard Joe Shark Pro Life Stadium over the last nine visits. And among those losses was that 34-33 monstrosity where the Dolphins lateraled the ball around like the Avengers keeping the Infinity Gauntlet away from Thanos for a 69-yard score as time expired. 

Hell, even in the best of times, that stadium has been their equivalent of the abandoned insane asylum in a ghost hunting show. In 2004 they Pats were defending Super Bowl champions and 12-1. Miami was 2-11. And still the Dolphins won after forcing four Tom Brady interceptions. 

I say again, weird. 

But just to prove Bill Belichick isn't taking this one for granted, that he's playing this one for keeps, he's already made two very Belichickian decisions. The first being that he's not about to allow his guys to get off the plane on Saturday, already at a climatological disadvantage. The way it's happened so many times when the Dolphins come to Foxboro late in the year, that winter air smacks them right across the face, and the game is over before it's begun. He's going to get everyone acclimated to the toxic, fiery hellscape that is Florida in early September. Where it is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. AirKraft One will land with days to spare:

If you recall, this is a version of the approach he took in 2017 when he faced the Raiders at Mexico City a week after playing at Denver. Rather than fly home and back, he got the Air Force Academy to loan out their practice facilities for the week, keeping his team accustomed to the thin air. While Jack Del Rio had his guys practicing next to San Francisco Bay. Which, if Google Maps is correct is at sea level. So the Raiders were sucking oxygen in the 1st quarter while Belichick's guys played like it was a home game. 

Next, he's pulled one of his favorite old moves, by signing a guy who's been with the Dolphins this whole time:

Jeff Bottari. Shutterstock Images.


And not just someone whose brain he can pick for the Dolphins formations, tendencies, calls, audibles and so on. But a guy who was very much on GM Bill's radar when he was coming out Kentucky. A three-way, all purpose player who took reps at quarterback as well as defense and special teams. 


And a Paul Hornung Award winner as the most versatile player in college ball, like rookie Marcus Jones. Just classic old school Belichick Machiavelli maneuvering.

The season is still a week and a half away, and the man in charge is already pulling the levers like the whole season is riding on it. Holy smokes, kickoff can't some soon enough.