An uncharacteristic comment made by Bill Belichick on Monday raised the eyebrows of a former Patriots team leader.
Belichick held his first media availability of the offseason at the annual NFL meeting in Phoenix and addressed a variety of topics, including the uncertain future of Lamar Jackson, the Patriots’ own quarterback situation and the team’s newest additions. New England’s head coach also cited “the last 25 years” as a reason to be optimistic about the Patriots’ future, a stark stray from the norm for the perpetually forward-thinking Belichick.
The comment surprised former Patriots linebacker and captain Tedy Bruschi, who called out Belichick on Tuesday morning’s episode of “Get Up.”
“That’s my guy who had a little slip right there,” Bruschi said on ESPN. “I don’t know how many times I’ve been in meetings with Coach Belichick and the very first meeting is, ‘I don’t care about anything in the past.’ We win Super Bowls, ‘last year doesn’t matter.’ Pro Bowls don’t matter, All-Pros don’t matter. ‘Everything you’ve done last year doesn’t matter, fellas. It’s about who we are going forward.’
“This is what the good teams do. Players hold coaches accountable also when they get off-message. Right now, Coach Belichick is off-message. That is something that his players shouldn’t hear — that he is basing some optimism to fans on ‘what I’ve done the last 25 years.’ I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Bill mention something like that in terms of his whole body of work. It was surprising to me. I don’t know what’s going on in that locker room now, but players can hold coaches accountable. I’ve done it with Bill before when he said things postgame or during the week that I did not like and we had discussions in captains meetings or after games or whatever. I’m not in that locker room anymore. I’m just surprised because that’s not the Bill Belichick that I know.”
Perhaps Belichick simply was irritated by the aforementioned question, suffered a human moment and let his guard down a bit. Because as Bruschi explained, the future Hall of Fame head coach won’t be looking at the six Super Bowl banners in Foxboro as he tries to guide his team to a bounce-back 2023 season.