Pretty much all of what transpired at Gillette Stadium last night before and during the NFL's kickoff game of the 2017 season was a nightmare for head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick is all about earning respect through sustained dedication and not through one iota of pomp or self-aggrandizing talk.
In fact, recently Bill Belichick was invited back to his high school (Annapolis H.S.) to speak to the current football team and to laud the efforts of his old head coach who was one of the first coaches to welcome players of any color or background. Bill's talk to the team was classic Belichick --- he passionately spoke about how talk will get teams nowhere, and how respect is only earned through sustained effort and through having your teammates' backs. The players in the room were staring on with mouths agape.
Thus, just about everything that occurred in Foxboro last night, was repulsive to the principle engineer who has brought 5 Super Bowl trophies to New England. The self-congratulatory video of the historic Super Bowl win over the Falcons...Mark Wahlberg all miked up and shouting out superlatives to the rabid crowd, deeming Tom Brady the GOAT and calling Robert Kraft "my friend"...to Kraft, clad in his customary white collared blue button-down shirt and Patriot red tie, plus donning the sneakers he's currently peddling, hoisting the Lomabrdi trophy triumphantly to the delirious crowd beside four former Patriots who hoisted the 4 Lombardis of the past...the dazzling unveiling of the 5th banner amidst musket explosions and pyro-techie orgasms...
One might imagine that even the giant billboard outside of Gillette of Roger Goodell sporting a bright red clown nose, a la defensive coordinator Matt Patricia's t-shirt unveiling after the Super Bowl last year...in addition to the cascade of boos the fans thundered at the very mention of Goodell's name and his galling presence in their sacred arena...had a way of nettling Belichick...because to Belichick, all of that is now in the past and has absolutely no bearing on what's at stake this year. That's how this guy works.
All Belichick wanted to do was get the game started. One can assume Belichick wasn't exactly too thrilled either that his flurry of remarkable trades during the off-season created wide-spread speculation that the 2017 Patriots are even more talented than the 2016 Patriots, to the point where numerous pundits were predicting a 19-0 season and the Pats' 3rd Super Bowl win in 4 years. Like Denny Green said so infamously, "Let's crown their a---."
Boston area anchormen and women were ending their broadcasts imploring the viewers to check back for the post-game coverage "after the win." After all, Tom Brady had never lost on Thursday nights at Gillette and a win was as certain as New England clam chowder on the menu and a Dunkin' Donuts on every street corner.
Thus, the expectation, even from the NBC crew who unanimously predicted a big win from the Patriots, was a litany of post-game gushings about Belichick, Brady, Mike Gillieslee, Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty...and yet...is this where the football gods stepped in said not so fast???....Who could have ever imagined that the post-game gushings would be all about Andy Reid, Alex Smith, rookie sensation Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, Demetrius Harris, Justin Houston and Eric Berry!
But even the football gods would have to explain why they couldn't spare cancer survivor and free safety extraordinaire Eric Berry (who made the 1st quarter 4th and 1 tackle on Mike Gilleslee that very likely prevented the much anticipated blowout win for the Patriots), from suffering what appears to be a torn Achilles. Perhaps this win by the Chiefs, as stunning and brilliant as it played out, was a pyrrhic victory.
Maybe there really aren't football gods after all...
Regardless, as odd as this may sound, Bill Belichick is no stranger to using humiliation to motivate his football team and to appease the football gods...Belichick's first emphatic post game comment was "we need to coach better." Who knows? Maybe in practice this week, Belichick, Patricia and Josh McDaniels will don the spanking red clown noses...and fining any player who ever utters the phrase "Roger That" again, even if reiterated by the Dorian Gray GOAT of NFL stardom, Tom Brady