The Patriots, when speaking to the media, are, more often than not, very boring. The ones that aren’t, well they usually don’t last long in New England. There is, of course, a method to this message-controlled madness.
Ross Tucker, who played parts of two seasons with the Patriots in 2005 and 2006, wrote a very interesting piece for Sporting News this week in which he details how Pats coach Bill Belichick goes out of his way to control what his players say when speaking to the media. The Patriots, to a man, offer very little when speaking to reporters, and that’s by design. It’s exactly how Belichick wants it to go.
“It was both intriguing and impressive to watch the process as a player,” Tucker wrote. “Belichick would start the morning on the treadmill reading all of the ‘clips’ for the day and highlighting certain things he found interesting. The ‘clips’ are a compilation of everything written about his squad that day.
“Then he’d go into the team meeting, tell the players exactly which questions were going to be asked that day (he was about 95 percent right somehow) and more or less tell the players what the team’s stance was on those topics. I still remember several from our first playoff game after the 2005 season: Jacksonville playing in a cold playoff game in Foxboro? Weather is not a factor. Jimmy Smith nursing an injury? He’ll be there. Pressure going for a third straight Super Bowl title? New team, new season, and last two years mean nothing. All that matters is this week and focusing on this game.”
Tucker also made an appearance on WEEI radio Thursday where he spoke about Belichick’s press conference regarding the Aaron Hernandez situation. The performance surprised Tucker some given Belichick’s usual demeanor, but what was less surprising was Belichick’s return to his usual self once questioning from the media began.
“I’ve seen him have emotion, but I haven’t seen him kind of have the regret, the remorse and come across as genuinely sorry,” Tucker said of the opening remarks.
However, Tucker doesn’t expect that to last, especially given Belichick’s tendencies.
“He’s the master with the media. He really is,” Tucker said on Mutt and Merloni on Thursday. “I’ve never quite understood why it’s that important to him.
“I was talking to Chad Brown yesterday, who played a couple of seasons for the Pats. I played for five teams, Chad played for three teams in 15 years, a bunch of different coaches. Neither one of us had ever had a coach emphasize the media nearly as much as Belichick. It’s not even close. It’s the No. 1 topic of conversation in every team meeting. And Chad even said … he’s almost like a media coach as much as a football coach. I never really understood why it was that high of a priority for him, but I guess it’s hard to argue with the results.”
Given the expected high volume of wide-ranging questions including those about Hernandez, it’s safe to say that Belichick will have his hands full with more than just football even as training camp opened Friday.
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