Football

Belichick opens up … just a bit

Occasionally players will say farewell, free of any buffers, after playing for one team for a long time.

Since career stops are often measured in minutes these days, defining “a long time” depends on whoever is doing the waving.

It’s rarer, but not unheard of, for coaches to make such a to-do over leaving a job. For one thing, coaches don’t typically dictate the end of their tenure, and there has to be at least a smidgeon of resentment in his soul.

Then there is Bill Belichick. His good-bye to the Patriots and New England should have come a year or two earlier. But lingering over the end of his tenancy is senseless, at least for a day.

Belichick bought Page 3 of the Sunday Globe to mark the end of his reign in Foxborough. Admittedly, the following is coming from an old newspaper curmudgeon, but the best way to make a splashy farewell is to do it in the paper. And Page 3 is prime newspaper real estate when it comes to advertising dollars.

The price of the ad means nothing; Belichick could afford a year’s worth of Page 3’s. That he did it at all means far more.

It was articulate and direct; you can hear his voice in it. Whether he wrote it or not, it’s his name, his photo and his legacy.

He lauded the fans’ passion, even when that passion occasionally turned acidic. He said he appreciated it, his players appreciated it, and that it did have an impact on the team’s results. He referred to his ratty sideline appearance and to his public snarls.

“You may even have enjoyed my fashion sense and press conferences, or maybe you just tolerated them.

“I loved coaching here and, together, we experienced some amazing moments.”

It was all pretty standard stuff in the age of prefab printed statements. 

But for one day, the amazing moments could be confined to triumphs – six championships, nine Super Bowl appearances … There are other accomplishments worthy of mention, but this isn’t a resume.

(Normally, a snarky aside would rest here referring to his resume and his so-far fruitless search for a new coaching gig, but not today.)

Discussions such as Belichick vs. Brady, benching Malcolm Butler and failed NFL Draft picks  will be standard barstool fare forever.

For now, let his tip of the hat stand unchallenged,