A new football season is nigh. With it comes training camps, practices, interviews, and press conferences. It is a time for NFL experts and prognosticators to carve out their predictions and for reporters to get the latest developments surrounding their given teams. In New England, this has not always been the easiest task for said reporters. Throughout Belichick’s tenure a principle of “give no quarter” has been generally applied to correspondence with media members. Each year, brave men and women would stand where so many had fallen and attempt to pierce the Belichickian media armor in hopes to get a glimpse of something that might resemble something.
To give you an idea:
Reporter: “Bill … do you have any thoughts or opinions pertaining to anything that may be used as material so that I may put pen to paper and write something that resembles tangible information.”
Bill: “Well I can’t go into specifics, but all I can say is that I am indeed the coach of the New England Patriots and as the coach will act in a manner that is best for the team. On second thought, I am willing to concede that I am an employee of the National Football League. Actually, at this point all I’m really willing to say is that I enjoy football … in an abstract sense.”
If the 2013 offseason had been like any other we would have all been treated to the delightful lip smacks and ums that fortified castle Belichick. But this was no normal offseason. The Aaron Hernandez case changed all that. As Belichick took to the podium Wednesday afternoon there was a realization that even to a man whose life has been consumed by football there are situations that inevitably transcend the echochambers of sport. The gates were lowered as a humbled Belichick acknowledged the gravity of the situation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim and I extend my sympathy really to everyone who has been impacted. A young man lost his life. His family has suffered a tragic loss and there’s no way to understate that.”
For a day, Belichick gave in. Not necessarily to the media, but to the situation. And since, a standard, factory-settings Belichick has returned as the New England Patriots look towards training camp and the preseason. It will be interesting to see how he and the team responds. It is a rare circumstance that the Patriots find themselves in. With lowered expectations and predicted impending demise, they now have a legitimate rallying cry to coalesce around. Belichick’s mantra, “Ignore the noise” will no doubt be in full effect this season. What was once a policy that seemingly robbed the players of thought and personality, might prove to be the critical tool that aids them in ultimately overcoming a tumultuous offseason and focusing on what they’re all paid to do, win football games.