This time Belichick should bear responsibility
Arguing against the notion that Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in the history of the National Football League is akin to disputing the notion that the sun rises in the East.
Arguing for the notion that Belichick’s arrogance often turns spiteful and petulant is simply an acknowledgment that he now fully believes the sun rises at his whim.
As Lombardi Trophies piled up on Robert Kraft’s mantel, Belichick’s chronic disdain of those who report on his football team could be written off as the price to pay for success. Fans have never particularly cared and, in fact, have found more than a bit of humor in Belichick’s inimitable way of ignoring or ridiculing a question or questioner.
The cold-weather snort that begins or punctuates his press conference answers is a Belichick trademark.
Fans endorsed Belichick as their team’s lord and savior with the mantra, “In Bill We Trust.” They, too, consider reporters an irrelevant nuisance, especially now that players can spread their public thoughts on a variety of social media outlets, uncluttered by questions that may make them reflect on what their victories or failures.
Thus, many fans trusted Bill when he plucked Antonio Brown off the NFL scrap heap. The feeling was that if anyone can bring out the best in this guy, who seems in constant battle with his inner demons, it was Coach GOAT.
It’s not the best call Belichick has ever made. It may not be the worst – he did, after all, take on Aaron Hernandez – but it was bad.
An adequate check of Brown’s off-field problems may have been enough to make Belichick, or Bob Kraft, to take a pass on the man. All-pro talent tainted by a string of alleged criminal transgressions will almost always be more far more risk than possible reward.
Ultimately, last week’s fresh wave of accusations made it impossible for the Patriots to keep Brown. Fans around the country, if not the world, hate the Pats, mostly because they win a lot. Some fans hate them for their perceived arrogance, an attitude that Belichick puts on display almost every time he faces a TV camera.
Belichick doesn’t have to apologize for the Brown – not that he ever would. But being generally regarded as the greatest coach in NFL history does not make him infallible.
If John F. Kennnedy could stand before a press conference and take responsibility for the Bay of Pigs disaster, a football coach, even the GOAT, should be able to face his fans and say “I screwed up.”
Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-1248, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Telegraph_ Alan.