FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick and his staff will be piloting the Patriots' packed plane heading to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.
Because the Pro Bowl is now played prior to the Super Bowl, the policy also changed that determines the AFC and NFC coaching staffs. The highest-seeded teams that lost in the divisional round of the playoffs would send their staffs to Hawaii for the Jan. 30 all-star game, so Belichick's staff will duel Mike Smith and the Falcons' coaches.
"It?s definitely not where we want to be," Belichick said Monday. "We?ll do it."
Eight Patriots have been selected to the Pro Bowl, including quarterback Tom Brady, left guard Logan Mankins, wide receiver Wes Welker, left tackle Matt Light, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, linebacker Jerod Mayo, cornerback Devin McCourty and safety Brandon Meriweather.
This is the second time Belichick has headed the AFC Pro Bowl squad. He also did it four years ago after the Patriots lost to the Colts in the AFC Championship, and that's when he developed a close relationship with Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
However, Belichick said he won't be scouting any potential free agents, especially with the "level of tempo of the practices," he said.
Belichick, though, wouldn't lose sight of some of Hawaii's best perks.
"Scout the golfing," Belichick laughed.