By now everyone understands that Bill Belichick is playing a funny little character up there at his press conferences. He really is the surly, gray, information-withholding man he appears to be, but over the last few years it has gone from aggravating to endearing.
Which is ironic, because it almost sunk his Patriots career before it even started.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated told the story to Colin Cowherd on the radio Tuesday. It was 2000, and Robert Kraft really liked Bill Belichick for whatever reason. He wanted to hire him, and he told Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell about it. Belichick had worked for Modell in Cleveland, where he had one winning season out of five, and Modell wanted Kraft to see exactly the sort of mumbling, wrung-out guy he was talking about hiring.
Well, he told him in the year 2000, he sent him tapes of Bill Belichick in his press conferences, and Kraft watched them, and he goes, “Oh my God.” Because Kraft wanted to hire Belichick as his head coach. But Art Modell told him at the time, “It’ll be the biggest mistake of your life if you hire him.”
That turned out to be terrible advice, obviously, but it was hardly a crazy thing to say at the time. The rap on Belichick was that he wasn’t cut out to be a head coach.
And if there’s one thing Belichick’s career has proved, it’s that you don’t need to be interesting or even affable to win titles.