Sunday, September 07, 2008

Who'd Be a Coach?

Bill Belichick doesn't have much to say after a game. All that thinking and fretting is very tiring, and truth to tell, the Pats coach can barely stand up after the final gun, win or lose. I've always been very understanding of those horrid, information-free cliches Belichick spouts in his post-game pressers. They come from taking a standing eight-count in the bout of life.

So imagine my astonishment at Belichick's performance after today's game with the Chiefs, which we can safely call a moderately stressful one for him. A goal-line stand to preserve victory is tough enough. A knee injury of unknown severity to Tom Brady, well, that's the ultimate Code Blue for the New England franchise.

And yet, Belichick was cracking jokes. Those dry sidelong wisecracks he made about reporters not wanting to know about Brady and the one about the Pats medical staff, those were jokes. Belichick's sense of humor is understated. This is in direct opposition to the exaggerated comic style of today, so his wit passes many by, but he was making semi-funnies in what could be a dire situation, and once, even SMILED when he did it. I saw the guy fail to smile after winning Super Bowls. This was weird.

There are only a few possible conclusions. One, Brady isn't hurt all that badly, and Belichick knows it. That's not how it looked when Tom was helped off the field, however. I've seen knee injuries before. This one didn't look like rubbing dirt on it would help much.

Or, Belichick was simply in shock. Possible, but the coach is a better crisis manager than that. If he didn't feel in control of himself, we would have seen the terse, grim Belichick that so satisfies his critics.

My guess is that Belichick was simply staggered that the Pats won. To survive one's worst nightmare encourages giddiness in the most stoic soul. The moment of ultimate dread for the Pats arrived, and they overcame it. Woo-hoo!

Belichick may not feel that way now, and I'm sure he won't tomorrow. That's the thing about NFL coaches, though, all of them. Sufficient unto their day is the evil thereof, especially on Sundays. On Sunday, there is no such thing as Monday.


Post a Comment

<< Home