By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Allegedly, Bill Belichick likes and wants pushback from his assistant coaches. But based on how he handled it today with the media, I think we can safely surmise that he doesn’t exactly respond well to it.
Earth to Bill: It’s not what you say. It’s what you do.
In case you missed it, longtime Patriots reporter Tom Curran (currently of NBC Sports Boston) had the audacity today to ask Belichick about the team’s recent and repeated failures in the annual NFL draft. Given that Belichick has consolidated all power and is the Grand Poohbah of all things football in Foxboro, the exchange directly questioned the performance the man himself, whose response was borderline Trumpian.
Courtesy of ESPN reporter Mike Reiss on Twitter, here is a transcript of the full back-and-forth:
So there you go. Well I appreciate the question, Tom. I really do. Did you mention then nine Super Bowl appearance and the six championships? We’re onto to Baltimore. Now shut your pie hole.
Wow. What a 2-year-old.
Fact: Belichick is the most accomplished football coach in history. Fact: He’s the best. And honestly, you shouldn’t care that he’s prickly or combative with the media because that doesn’t really matter, either.
But what you should care about is how he responds when someone challenges him, regardless of whether it’s a reporter or a member of his staff. And if you think there’s a difference between the two, take the time to watch the “Football Life” documentary from the 2009 season. When Belichick asks for input in a meeting with his coaches, there is silence. I mean, we’re talking crickets. Nobody speaks up because they know they’re not supposed to. That’s the culture that Belichick cultivates.
Hmm. Could today be evidence as to why – because Bill bristles every time someone suggests he’s been less than stellar at something?
One more thing here: this all started because, two weeks ago, Belichick did a radio interview with former assistant Charlie Weis in which he was asked why the Patriots have played more young players this year. (This premise is actually flawed, but that’s another story.) Belichick then went on to say that the Patriots “sold out” to win championships the last few years (another flawed premise) and then doubled down a few days later in his weekly, contracted radio interview in Boston by further lamenting budgetary restraints – an explanation that conveniently ignored his mismanagement of assets.
What he never mentioned specifically, of course, was the draft, where the Patriots have all but butchered the last several drafts. New England hasn’t drafted even a Pro Bowl player since 2013 and, in more recent years, Belichick has picked like he’s been playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.
So today, Curran tactfully pushed back on it – and in a manner that was hardly sensationalistic – and Belichick started rattling off his resume like he was Colonel Nathan Jessup.
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Can you imagine how he acts when he gets questioned inside the organization?
Heaven forbid someone ask him why he’s 3-5 since Tom Brady left.
You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.