Puttin' on His Top Hat Would Be BetterAs the clock ran out on the Packers victory over the Patriots yesterday, and Bill Belichick ran onto the field for the post-game ritual meeting with the opposing coach, he looked like he always does after a loss, a portrait of misery and gloom. At least his face did.
But clothes can unmake the man, or at least make him look foolish as well as unhappy. Atop his head, Belichick wore an official NFL stocking cap. This was prudent headgear for Green Bay in late November, but the cap's cunning design of alternating rings of red, white, blue and gray topped with an adorable little red pompom made it appear Belichick had swiped it from the set of a particularly cloying Hallmark Channel holiday special. The contrast between the coach's visage of pain and the jolly fashion statement on his head made Belichick look ridiculous. It was the moment in the Hallmark special when Santa's senior elf learns Old St. Nick has checked himself into rehab four days before Christmas.
NFL head coaches have an impossible job involving constant near-lethal stress levels. They all love it, but that doesn't make it easier. It seems the height of cruelty that during the three-plus hours of game day that are the splendid, horrible peak of their professional lives, the league orders them to be dressed in nothing but copyrighted NFL merchandise, the mass produced crap it peddles to those fans who love their teams not wisely but way, way too well. Bad enough Belichick lost a game that had to be utterly draining for both coaches. For the sake of a little free advertising, the league made him lose his dignity as well;
That's pro football in the 21st century, since about the 1980s in fact. A Hall of Fame coach can be jerked around by the whims of some Reebok designer angling for a better gig at Uniqlo because the NFL thinks there might be a spare nickel in it. I don't often feel sorry for Belichick, but when I saw that cap I did.
Oh, well, New England's next game is in San Diego, win or lose Belichick will be spared the indignity of dressing up for a junior high skating party. That leaves only one question about Sunday's crucial tilt.
What does the official New England Patriots Hawaiian shirt look like, anyway?