Belichick “speaks to no one” – Really?

Might as well start the war with the New Orleans sports media nice and early. The Times-Picayune of New Orleans has a piece up by Peter Finney today, looking forward to the showdown between the unbeaten Saints and the Patriots a week from tonight.

In looking toward the game, Finney says:

Despite three losses, the New England Patriots speak for themselves, a perennial contender whose coach speaks to no one.

Finney is going by the commonly-held belief, especially among those outside New England, and in the national media, that the Patriots coach just doesn’t speak to or cooperate with the media.

Apparently Finney didn’t catch Belichick’s press conference this morning, which begins on a light note (the microphone was too high for the coach) and proceeds to talk about missing out on Wes Welker in the draft, and then (about 16 minutes in) getting into a fantastic in-depth conversation about roster decisions and what goes into them. Mike Reiss for one, really appreciated the session with Belichick.

One of the many misperceptions that the media puts out there about Belichick is that he doesn’t give anything to the media. In fact, it is the exact opposite.

While Belichick doesn’t give injury or contract information and doesn’t play the human interest or cliché game that some columnists are after, when it comes to pure football talk, few speak more and none provide anywhere near as much insight. It would be nice if some in the media, both locally and nationally acknowledged that fact.

The coach who “speaks to no one” followed that press conference with a one-on-one session with WCVB’s Mike Lynch, and then with radio call-ins to WFAN-New York and SIRIUS NFL Radio, and will appear on WEEI’s Big Show in the 5:00pm hour today.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    New Orleans’ media is as lazy as Boston’s. SHOCKER!!!

  • Michael Gee

    As I have written at both the Herald and in cyberspace, it’s all what and when you ask Belichick. Out-of-town writers generally ask coaches questions on the Wednesday conference call (all coaches hate those) and postgame (when Belichick is drained after a big win, let alone a tough loss).
    It’s funny. Just working around the yard or something, I come up with football thoughts I’d love to ask Belichick about. Too bad. Hope I didn’t completely waste my opportunity to talk about the game with him.

    • Classless

      A former media guy who gets it. Unfortunately, the rest of the “look at me” crowd in the dying medium of print would rather ask an asinine question that gets a negative reaction that’ll be looped on ESPN all week.

  • Steve

    Bruce,

    I don’t think Peter literally meant that Belichick doesn’t speak at all. That was just Peter’s way of describing Belichick’s standoffish nature with the press.

    I think a better way for Peter to write it would have been to say “Despite three losses, the New England Patriots speak for themselves, a perennial contender whose coach ANSWERS to no one.”

    That tells the readers that Belichick has autonomy as coach and doesn’t address any topic he doesn’t want to.

    • Bruce

      That would’ve been better, yes, but I really think the perception outside New England is the Belichick really just doesn’t talk to the media at all.

  • Paul

    Belichick plays the cliche game. Apparently every team the Pats play regardless of their record is tough in all three phases of the game. Offense. Defense. And Special Teams.

    • Bruce

      Another myth. No cliches in that discussion about the roster decisions.

      Would you rather have Belichick say “Yeah, the Saints special teams really suck, we think we can take advantage of them there, I believe we’ll run a couple back on them, and probably block a field goal or two?”

      • Paul

        Well, calling a team out on their suspect Special Teams play wouldn’t be a cliche. Saying the same thing every week about every opponent is cliche.

        • Lance

          Can you cite examples where he does that every week? I don’t see it at all. Belichick emphasizes what a team does well and diplomatically shares insight on how/why a team might be deficient in different areas.

        • Steve

          Bruce: No, I don’t expect Bill Belichick to criticize the upcoming opponent. However, when it comes to him addressing other teams, I’ll paraphrase Led Zeppelin: The praise remains the same. Only the names change.

        • jbj

          sure, Zeppelin wrote the Song Remains the Same

          but i think you’re actually paraphrasing Dead of Alive by Bon Jovi…which is straight out of the Belichick playbook

        • Steve

          jbg: That’s pretty good. But I would NEVER paraphrase Bon Jovi, at least not with intent. Plant and Page vs. Bon Jovi and Sambora? It’s not even close.

          Does anybody remember laughter? Long live Zep!

    • Bruce

      Well, It sounds the same each week, because he does not want to give away any edge, no matter how small (which is why he doesn’t talk about injuries) and does not want to say anything that could be used as material to incite the other team. I don’t have a problem with it.

  • TimBuk3

    It is a great skill and shows great discipline to keep your mouth shut to the detriment benefit your enemies, despite NFL requirements to hold press conferences and make coaches and players available to the media.

    Like a poker player not giving up tells, Belichek is the best at this and his discipline carries down through the whole team.

    The problem is, the press asks questions that are so easy to respond to with a bland answer, and then they keep asking the same ones over and over again. Always off the cuff and without a lot of foresight. It’s not the responses that are disappointing, it’s the questions.

    Worst question and best answer: Q: Would you make the same call again? A: You only get one chance.

    The media may not appreciate the genius of the answer but many fans do.

    By the way, shut up please Leigh Bodden.