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Matt Light Tells an Absolute Banger of a Story About the One and Only Email Exchange He Ever Had With Belichick

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

When you look back at the literally thousand-plus players who came through the roster in Bill Belichick's 24 years running the Patriots, and the hundred or so starters who played critical roles in multiple championship teams, it's possible that none of them were as different in their personality, general demeanor and approach to the game as Matt Light. If nothing else, he's on a short list of genuine characters who found a way to coexist with the diabolical little Croatian genius, along with Rob Gronkowski, Mike Vrabel, and a precious few others who fit the category.

So it came as no surprise when Julian Edelman's Games with Names podcast episode with Light dropped, that the Patriots team Hall of Famer served up one Grade-A story after another. 

None better than this one he tells from April of 2007, when Light was in Hawaii for the Players Association meetings in his capacity as the Pats player rep. It began with an email from Belichick. Which the first one he'd ever received from his coach, in the seven years he'd been in New England. And it was so out of the ordinary, that Light assumed he was being pranked by Dan Koppen without ever opening it. Until it turned out to be the genuine article.

Here's the story in question, cued up to the 20:10 mark:

Belichick's initial email:

[Subject heading] Greetings from the NEP Offseason Program!

"It's a chance for us to bond and start putting the wheels in motion for the following season," left tackle Matt Light said in a recent interview. "The foundation is put in this time of year. What you do in March, April, May and June, and what you do in minicamp and that passing camp has a direct effect on the beginning of your season, and you have to come out of the gate swinging pretty hard. And that's what we've been able to do around here." 

Hey, Matt. I just read this quote from you …

What the fuck?

We have over 50 guys working out today and the one guy who isn't here does all the talking about how important the offseason is. Figures. A lot of your teammates were concerned about you and asked why you weren't here. But don't worry. We let them all know that you're in Hawaii for a week. If you want to do something productive out there, why don't you have them move this meeting to the week BEFORE teams start their offseason programs? 

Very respectfully yours,

Bill Belichick

Head Coach of the New England Patriots

Light then explains how he waited a few days and thought out his response carefully, with the help of a family member. Mostly at the urging of his wife who was always concerned he was going to get himself fired. It's really long and involved and I won't transcribe the whole thing. But here's a sample of his reply

Coach B,

First of all, allow me to apologize for not responding earlier to your prior email. It has been my experience, limited though it may be, that a reflexive response did not serve anyone well. Thus, I felt it necessary to permit time to militate a more measured, philosophic response, as you are certainly better aware than anyone that we as human beings are not automotons. Rather, we stand as a compilation of free-willed, rational beings. …

Despite my commitment to the offseason programs, I felt compelled to move forward the collective good of the players through attendance at the PA meetings. …

Your humble free-willed tackle,

Matt Light

And Belichick's reply to what Light himself describes as "that gibberish." 

[Subject line] Concluding remarks

Matt,

I need some time to let this one settle, but I'll start with this. Why don't you consider dedicating yourself to having fewer mistakes and not leading the team in once again being the most penalized player on offense? Your numerous false start penalties, in evidence once again at the Pro Bowl, and other transgressions like taunting continue to make me think that your distractions off the field affect your concentration on the field. 

My advice? If you have an interest in improving your performance, would be to minimize your distractions and focus on maximizing your physical development and technique in the offseason program. 

I continue to feel that you were totally out of line commenting on the importance of the program when you were not in attendance with the rest of the team. 

Finally, Matt, there is no need to use multi-syllable words in your email that neither your nor I know. I am unimpressed. This will conclude my email chain and I will return to my efforts in trying to do a better job in coaching this football team. As for the PA meetings, don't worry about helping me. As I have said many times, and I remind myself, the best thing we can do for ourselves and our families is to WIN. Try to keep that in mind in your quest for world peace. 

Sincerely and respectfully, 

Bill Belichick

Head Coach

Aaannnddd … scene!

Giphy Images.

Author! Author!

Light insists several times on the pod that he could lose every possession he owns, including his Super Bowl rings, and not care. He's not attached to objects like that. But this email exchange is the one thing he could never part with or tolerate losing. 

And with good reason. This is a piece of history. An artifact of a bygone era that needs to be preserved. As the Preamble to the Constitution says, for ourselves and our posterity. 

But even more so, it's both hilarious and bittersweet in equal measures. Because it speaks to how many incredible moments happened like this over the course of nearly a quarter of a century that the rest of us were never privy to. That only those inside the building know about. And even then, very few of them. I'd give my entire 401K for unlimited access to everything that went on in those offices, meeting rooms and practice fields. And gladly work at WalMart until I drop dead, knowing I made the right choice. But alas, those memories belong to the men who lived them. 

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But it's not too late for us to get Light and Belichick together. These two need to be in a scripted buddy comedy. Two polar opposites who drive each other nuts. The free spirit and the control freak. The wiseass and the curmudgeon. Who somehow manage to make it work, in spite of their differences. Or because of them. The scripts practically write themselves. Though I'll settle for a Reality show where they share a house together. Or just write emails and read them out loud. But the world outside of One Patriots Place was never meant for anything as beautiful as that. 

Giphy Images.