Belichick's Interview at the NFL Meetings Was a Masterclass in Giving No Fucks About an Interview at the NFL Meetings
We're in the epicenter of the best four week span on the sports calendar, the end of March and the first half of April. The Final Four is set. MLB Opening Day is coming. The NBA and NHL's regular seasons are entering the home stretch. We just had the TPC at Sawgrass and the Masters will be here soon. Plus you've got the Boston Marathon, if that's your thing. It's an all-you-can eat buffet with plenty to fill the plate and satisfy every palate.
Though not to be lost in this embarrassment of riches is one of my personal favorites: Bill Belichick's obligatory meeting with the press at the NFL meetings. And I choose the word "obligatory" with care, since he's obligated by the league to conduct this exercise every year. To provide us with this annual Meme Factory:
And this year was no exception, as he came to the table in a long sleeve button down and shorts:
… signaling to all in attendance that he simultaneously all business and not taking this seriously. He's dressed to kill, and they can all die as far as he's concerned. Then proceeded to give them all the candor, honesty, and expansive answers as a lawyered up crime boss in a police interrogation:
It went on an on like this, for minute after socially awkward, excruciating minute. Did I compare it to a police interrogation just now? It was more like enhanced interrogation at a CIA black site. But the subject gave up no actionable intel. You want him to talk? Ask him about the long snapper position or seven-stud cleats on grass fields, and he'll give you a Shakespearean soliloquy. Offer a question about his personnel, and he'll eat a cyanide pill he keeps hidden in his tooth before he spills.
Belichick's willingness to conduct this kind of interview - and by that, I mean perfectly harmless, commonsense, easy-to-answer questions - and never crack is practically an art form unto itself. A billion people would be asked these things and 999.999,999 would give the reporters something. Just not him. He's a master of minimalism. Listening to him at the meetings every year is like seeing a Beckett play. It's like an abstract painting of a shape or some lines that is considered a true work of art. It's the press conference version of that movie from 10 years ago that was all just animated stick figures, yet filled with existential angst. And fascinating every, single time he does this performance piece.
Sure, it would take less effort to simply be a little forthcoming, but that's not his way. The bottom line is that he's not in Arizona to have conversations with anyone unless those conversations can lead to him guiding his team deep into the postseason once again. As John Updike put in his his famous essay about Ted Williams, "Gods don't answer letters." And this godlike figure might not have met the media since early January, but he's already in midseason form.