Repeat much? Bill Belichick gives most Belichickian press conference ever
Bill Belichick has become one of the most curmudgeonly, no-nonsense and guarded head coaches in NFL history, especially as it relates to his interactions with the media.
Belichick is incredibly stodgy during press conferences, never willing to give an inch, adamantly uninterested in plying the press with worthy or interesting sound bytes.
Instead, the New England Patriots sometimes-cantankerous head coach prefers to stonewall the media, opting to stonewall any inquiries from reporters, lest he tip his hand or, you know, allow the press to do their jobs.
While he may begrudgingly accept it is part of his job to do pressers, that does not mean he has to enjoy it, nor is he inclined to allow the media to enjoy question-and-answer sessions, either.
This is the guy, after all, who smiled only seven times during his post-game pressers during the 2013 season.
There are times, though, as infrequent as they are, when Belichick will briefly reveal his human side during a press conference. He’ll crack a smile or a joke or discuss his Thanksgiving eating habits or talk about how he could never become an astronaut but typically, it’s a tight-lipped exercise in the withholding of information with Belichick bearing an expression of abject misery.
One of the best examples of this is when the coach had to agonizingly withstand a barrage of questions about Tim Tebow when the Patriots somehow made the mistake of allowing him on the roster.
But Belichick raised the bar — or lowered it, depending on one’s particular point of view — with his interactions with reporters during his press conference on Wednesday.
The Patriots humorless generalissimo essentially repeated the same line over and over reporters, providing some variation of the rote response, “We’re on to Cincinnati” to each successive inquiry.
The awkward give-and-take — more like no-give-and-take — as transcribed by CBS Boston (video available here):
Reporter: Coach, your team has been so successful for so long. How difficult is it to react to the adversity of Monday night to get back on track so quickly? Because … this team, this organization hasn’t had these sort of issues in the past.
Belichick: “Yeah, well, we’re on to Cincinnati.”
Reporter: Bill, do you think — you mentioned Tom [Brady’s] age at the draft …
Belichick (interrupting): “We’re on to Cincinnati.”
Reporter: But do you think having a 37-year-old …
Belichick (interrupting): “We’re on to Cincinnati. There’s nothing about the past, nothing about the future. Right now, we’re preparing for Cincinnati.”
Reporter: Do you feel like the talent you have here is good?
Belichick: “We’re getting ready for Cincinnati.”
Reporter: Well, I mean, I’m just asking, do you think you’ve done enough to help Tom Brady?
Belichick: “We’re getting ready for Cincinnati. That’s what we’re doing.”
Reporter: So as you get ready for Cincinnati, does Tom Brady have the talent and protection around him to be on to Cincinnati and …
Belichick (interrupting): “Yeah, we’re going to game-plan and do the best we can to be ready to go Sunday night – same as we always do. Nothing’s changed.”
Reporter: Are the problems you’re seeing correctable?
Belichick: “We’re going to do the best we can to put together a game plan for Cincinnati and go out and execute it well. That’s where we’re at.”
Reporter: The things that you’ve seen on tape the first four weeks, do you think the stuff that you’re seeing is correctable, that the talent is here to correct the problems?
Belichick: “We’re going to put together the best game plan we can, practice it and go out and execute it against Cincinnati.”
Reporter: Do you think you’re still kind of searching for an identity? Still looking for answers? Still … how would you …
Belichick: “I think we’re trying to find a way to beat the Bengals. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Sweet stonewalling, Batman! Apparently, the Patriots are getting ready for Cincinnati.
Try as they might — the media wasn’t getting anywhere with Belichick on this day. He was all set to give them exactly nothing on this day, something reporters who have covered the Patriots for any stretch of time should be all-too-familiar with at this point, albeit perhaps not to this extent.
Bravo, Bill Belichick. Bravo. He has provided a template that every NFL coach can use when he cannot tolerate questions any longer. Just keep repeating the same answer over and over and over. Granted, Belichick isn’t the first person to come up with this plan of resistance, but rarely does a coach pull it off with such understated brilliance, if at all.