Matt Light Remembered as Legendary Prankster Who Electrically Shocked Bill Belichick, Left Dead Animals in Teammates’ Lockers


May 7, 2012

Matt Light Remembered as Legendary Prankster Who Electrically Shocked Bill Belichick, Left Dead Animals in Teammates' LockersFOXBORO, Mass. — Residents of the Patriots’ locker room won’t have to worry anymore about showing up to work and finding a dead animal in their locker stall.

Somehow, they’re going to miss that.

Patriots left tackle Matt Light officially announced his retirement Monday. While he has enjoyed more postseason success than any offensive lineman in history, Light will be remembered by his teammates as a world-class prank artist. Some of those pranks, apparently, were sadistic.

“If I had to pick five [of my favorite pranks], there’s probably three that I can’t even mention,” former Patriots running back Sammy Morris said.

Former Patriots receiver Buddy Farnham was a victim of one of Light’s most elaborate schemes at a charity event. Light had a police officer “arrest” Farnham under the suspicion of inappropriately interacting with a younger boy, who was also in on the joke. Hilarity, as they say, ensued.

Light recalled one of his personal favorites Monday. During a recent training camp, Light snuck into Bill Belichick‘s office and hooked up a new mouse to the head coach’s computer.

“The only difference is, this thing carries about 400 volts of electricity, and you will scream for Jesus when that thing hits you,” Light beamed.

As the story goes, Belichick shocked himself twice on the mouse, and he apparently lost one of his computer files, which led to a lengthy meeting. Apparently, Light didn’t learn much of a lesson, because he pulled the same prank on offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. More often than not, though, Light’s pranks drew an immediate laugh.

“Because he was the ultimate prankster, even when it wasn’t him playing the prank, he was involved because everybody thought it was him,” Belichick said. “Whatever it was, the finger always pointed at Matt first, because that was his personality. He was always the prime suspect even when it wasn’t him.”

Belichick was particularly fond of a stunt they pulled two years ago. While preparing for a game against the Jets, Light proposed the idea in the coach’s office. Belichick always quizzes players during team meetings, and Light wanted Belichick to ask a question that no one else could answer. The intention, from Light’s perspective, was to show the team how hard he studies film. After initially refusing, Belichick finally agreed.

During the meeting, Belichick asked the offense to name each of the Jets’ defensive sub packages. Tom Brady started with the 2-4 nickel and a 3-3 nickel, and Brian Hoyer chimed in with a 3-2 dime. Belichick then asked if the team could name another dime package. As the players began avoiding eye contact, Belichick got sterner with the inquisition.

“Light sticks up his hand back here,” Belichick recalled. ” ‘Coach, I thought I saw them in that 1-5 dime one time, I think.’ ”

” ‘Dammit, Light, you did,’ ” Belichick responded. “They’ve been in it one time all year. ‘I don’t imagine you remember the game since you probably went through the whole entire film yesterday of all the games they played this season.’ He said, ‘I want to say it was the Houston game, the opener, like right before the half.’

” ‘OK, Light, so now you’ve got all the answers to everything. You know everything. OK.’

“So we break the meeting up, and all the offensive linemen walk out of the room, and they’re like, ‘Jesus, Light, you’re killing us. You’re really putting us to shame here.’ Honest to God, to this day, I don’t think any of those guys ever knew.”

A large group of offensive linemen were in attendance for Light’s retirement ceremony, and as Belichick finished the story, they were all laughing in the corner, knowing Light got them one more time.

Brady appeared on a tribute video during the ceremony and said he’s still going to try talk Light out of retirement. Light later responded that Brady doesn’t realize how much less chaotic his life was going to be, and he’ll eventually enjoy the peace of mind with not having to look over his shoulder anymore. Light, of course, was responsible for the posters and T-shirts that the Patriots sported behind the scenes after Brady clutched a goat during a photo shoot.

As Light knows, the pranks can only be as fun as the people who receive them. He’s met a lot of friends and a lot of victims over the years, and he’s going to miss them — maybe, just maybe, more than they miss him.

“I can definitely remember all of the fun that we had behind the scenes,” Light said. “It always comes back to the people. That’s what I’ll miss the most.”

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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