You know the look: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is standing on the sidelines in his hoodie with the sleeves cut off, staring at the action on the field in a way that makes you wonder if there’s even a detectable trace of emotion running through his being. Belichick seems to almost live in his own world, yet most people might not give that a second thought since he’s on the cusp of winning his fifth Super Bowl ring as head coach as he leads the Pats into Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons.
When a person goes out and has the results Belichick does year after year, very few people will question their motives. But it’s hard to deny that the coaching legend has had more than a few cringeworthy moments.
“The most awkward situation that could possibly happen”
Back in 2013 when former Patriots receiver Wes Welker was interviewed by another former Patriot Tedy Bruschi about seeing Belichick for the first time as a member of the Broncos, he said, “I think whatever the most awkward situation that could possibly happen, that’s probably what it’s going to be.” If a former players thinks an interaction with Belichick is going to be awkward, what are the rest of us going to think?
— Joe Giza (@JoeGiza) December 2, 2015
“Sorry if you’re offended by that”
Back in 2015, Belichick was asked about an injury to tight end Rob Gronkowski after Gronk’s family released a statement. Things got weird when Belichick shot back at a reporter saying, “Just trying to do everything we can to help you out. Sorry if you’re offended by that. Just trying to be cooperative and help you out. So if that’s a problem just let me know. We did what we did. If you have any other questions, you really should take it up with our public relations department, which is very capably run by Stacey [James] and his staff.”
That same year, Belichick argued a call with Sarah Thomas, a female line judge. Belichick appeared to put both his arms around Thomas. Making it look like they were engaged in an intense slow dance. If you look closely at the clip, Belichick doesn’t actually touch Thomas.
In 2016, Belichick’s girlfriend Linda Holliday posted an Instagram video to celebrate his 64th birthday. Belichick made a reference to a Beatles song as the video ended abruptly. He also sat uncomfortably close to the screen in the video. It seems like a public service announcement or yet another press conference he wanted no part of.
“We’re on to Cincinnati”
Back in 2014 Belichick made have had his most infamous press conference exchange with a reporter who asked about Tom Brady’s age. As the the reporter asked question after question, Belichick responded by saying, “We’re on to Cincinnati” repeatedly. Where most coaches would’ve said “no comment” or “next question,” Belichick dug in.
“We’ve been down that road before”
After a controversial loss to the Carolina Panthers back in 2013, Belichick stared down a reporter after asking a question, gave one word answers, then three word answers (“I don’t know”), along with this one on late game officiating, “Like I’ve said, we’ve been down that road before. Didn’t get one tonight, didn’t get one at the Baltimore game. Guess that’s the way we do it.”
Going down that road again
After a 2015 overtime loss to the Broncos in which in a questionable call was made along with losing Gronkowski to an injury, Belichick was in rare from for the postgame presser, staring down another reporter after they asked for his reaction to Gronk going down.
Former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light told CSN New England about the time he tricked then-Patriots defensive back Brandon Merriweather into asking Belichick to pick up the bar tab during their time in Hawaii for the 2011 Pro Bowl. Belichick, who was coaching the AFC team at the time, was not in on the joke, Light told CSN New England, “And I’ll never forget – Bill’s looking at him like, ‘What are you talking about?’ But Linda’s [Belichick’s girlfriend] like, ‘Go ahead, take care of the tab. Help him out, right?’ It was the most uncomfortable awkward moment I’ve ever witnessed with coach.”
His letter to Donald Trump
After the general election this past November, Belichick was asked about a letter he sent to then-President-Elect Donald Trump. “I’ve received a number of inquiries relative to a note that I wrote to Donald on Monday,” Belichick said. “Our friendship goes back many years and I think anybody that’s spent more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person. My comments aren’t politically motivated.”
He added, “I write hundreds of letters and notes every month. It doesn’t mean I agree with every single thing that every person thinks about politics, religion or other subjects. But I have multiple friendships that are important to me and that’s what that was about. It’s not about politics. It’s about football.”
Meeting with Roger Goodell
February 2017 could provide yet another awkward Belichick moment if the Patriots win Super Bowl LI. After all, a Patriots win would historic on so many levels. Due to that, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to be there to hand the trophy over to the Patriots despite coming down hard on them because of Deflategate. Everyone will be watching to see if some strange happens.