The lengthy ESPN.com report published Friday morning mainly focused on New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s relationship with his quarterback, Tom Brady, and his team’s owner, Robert Kraft.
But the piece also included one line on Belichick’s relationship with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who remains a villain in New England for the prominent role he played in Deflategate.
Apparently, the coach and the commish are best buds now.
In detailing how Belichick’s mindset has shifted slightly this season, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham wrote:
“Belichick also has taken a longer view, as though he sees pieces of his impact leaguewide. He’s preparing assistant coaches for job interviews elsewhere, which he didn’t always do in years past. He has taken pride in (Jimmy) Garoppolo’s 5-0 record in San Francisco — and in the fact that Kraft has confessed to people in the building that trading Garoppolo might have been a mistake. He reset a toxic relationship with the Colts with the (Jacoby) Brissett trade.
“He has even become good friends with Goodell. The two men had a long and private meeting during the off week after the regular season, when the commissioner visited Foxborough.”
Very interesting. The regular season just ended this past Sunday, so that means this meeting took place earlier this week.
There’s no other evidence provided to suggest Belichick has buried the hatchet with the man who suspended quarterback Tom Brady for four games and stripped the Patriots of two draft picks. But if this report is accurate, it appears Belichick has put Deflategate behind him — or at least acknowledged that being on good terms with the game’s most powerful figure can be beneficial to him and his team.
UPDATE (11:24 a.m. ET): The timing of Belichick’s meeting with Goodell was misreported in Wickersham’s story, according to an NFL spokesperson.