Whether it's Throwing Shade at Drake Maye or Telling Old Randy Moss Stories, How Did We Ever Live Without Belichick's Draft Coverage?

Getty Images. Getty Images.

When it was announced Bill Belichick was going to be giving real-time draft commentary on Pat McAfee's YouTube feed, it seemed like a safe bet he'd be a welcome departure from Mel Kiper's carefully-crafted schtick, the wonky NFL Network analysis, or the kind of affections we used to get from Mike Mayock with talk about "War Daddies" and "Downhill Thumpers" and such. 

But holy smokes, nobody - not even I - thought he'd be giving us a steady stream of the kind of world class commentary he gave us. For like four straight hours, including the predraft talk, the coach was prepared, on point, conversational, funny, and absolutely brought the best draft coverage anyone ever has. If you were just tuning in with no background, knowing nothing about the man, you'd have thought his whole career has been dedicated to this. And not, you know, that he's unemployed for the first time since the early 1970s and this was his first attempt. He was to this format what say, Tom Hanks or Paul Rudd have always been to late night talk shows. Just the perfect guest who always brings something to the set without it seeming at all forced or contrived. 


I say this as someone who got exactly what I wanted out of this 1st round, but I loved his analysis of Drake Maye. First negatively comparing his footwork to the perfectly poised, balanced, under control styles of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and ripping him (the 2:10 mark) for being "all over the place … too much hopping around, just step up and throw":

Or here, pointing out the good and the bad of Maye. A big time deep ball followed by forcing a ball into double coverage and being too "quick to come off receivers. … That's as open as they're gonna get in the NFL.":

And if anyone wants to suggest that's a little harsh, they obviously don't know the man. Or pro football, for that matter. Maye is about to be given the awesome responsibility of reestablishing the greatness Belichick built with sheer will and determination. He spent 20 years pointing out the mistakes of the greatest to ever play the position and saying he could get Johnny Foxboro from the High School up the street to make these plays. Don't think for a hot second he's going to spare the feelings of some prospect who hasn't even posed with his Patriots "1" jersey yet. 

More importantly, these aren't criticisms; they're constructive criticisms. Critiques. What the experts who are busy ruining a generation of kids call "teachable moments," but men with championships to win call "coaching points." And everyone of them is correct. And if OC Alex Van Pelt, Offensive Assistant Ben McAdoo and QB Coach TC McCartney know what's good for them (giving them benefit of the doubt, they do), they'll take copious notes and begin working with Maye to clean up these very issues the second he reports. 

And speaking of reporting, it wasn't all just film breakdowns and quarterback mechanics. When given the opportunity, Belichick did what he does better than anyone when he has the opportunity and the situation called for it: Tell football stories:


I mentioned Hanks and Rudd. This is practically Norm MacDonald. A story joke with a premise, set up, punchline, and a dozen laughs along the way. A coach but also a raconteur. A hail fellow, well met. A man in his element, spinning yarns like no one else can. 

Of course the people who were frustrated with the public face he puts will ask where this has been for the last 24 years. But they're missing the point. He conducted himself the way he did because it was what was best for his team. He put the deflectors shields up to maximum to keep the media at a distance for the sake of his players, his coaching staff and his program. Because the media were not his friends. They didn't have his team's best interest at heart. And by keeping that protective bubble around everything, it made it easier for them to focus on the tasks at hand. 

And speaking as someone who had amazing conversations with Belichick over the two years I worked at WEEI, if the press had spent less time trying to grill him about every controversy big and small and more time giving him the opportunity to share his vast reservoir of knowledge, they would've gotten fewer monosyllabic answers and more expansive stories like this one about Randy Moss. He's got a million of them. And I for one look forward to hearing every, single one before he ends up getting hired by another team.