While we wait for the Red Sox to start their first-round series with the Cleveland Indians tomorrow night, a few notes from a Patriots long-form rich Tuesday.

No More Questions – We’ll start with this impressive oral history of Bill Belichick from David Fleming at ESPN. This article will appear in next week’s edition of ESPN the Magazine.

Unlike a previous ESPN piece, the anonymous quotes are kept to a minimum. Only two individuals decided to go unnamed in the piece, and unsurprisingly, both had a negative opinion.

Former NFL Head Coach: “Bill likes creating the image of an outlaw, the tough guy. I think he really relishes it. But who is he really? He was kind of a geeky kid. Not that athletic. A failed football player.”

What a coward. “A failed football player.” How so? I’m pretty sure Belichick wasn’t under any illusions at Wesleyan that he was going to be playing in the NFL. The comment also seems to indicate that it was someone who had played in the NFL as well.

Don Shula? Dan Reeves? Tony Dungy?

So who is this? The line about being him being “kind of a geeky kid” makes me think it is an older coach, someone who might’ve seen Belichick at that age.

The second bit:

Former NFL Coach: “He will step across the line at any point he thinks he can get away with it. That [stuff] happens. It absolutely fits with the culture and the mindset there. It’s all about winning, and when you’re working 23 hours a day looking for every advantage and you have your whole life invested in the outcome of a football game, honestly, how long before you start to think, ‘Well, if I go just a little bit further with pushing the envelope, what’s the difference?’ The harder you work and the more you’re invested in it, the more you start to think like Bill and the easier it becomes to justify it.”

Is this the same guy as above? Or someone else? This seems an interesting connection:

Other than these couple blips, the piece is overwhelmingly positive. It just shows how much easier it is to trash someone when you’re being anonymous. (Hello, Don Van Natta!)

Letters from a young Bill Belichick reveal another side to coach – Another piece on the Patriots head coach focuses on a fan who wrote to him while Belichick was coaching the Cleveland Browns. In contrast to the portrait painted in the local papers at the time, the writer finds Belichick to be engaging, kind and helpful.

WHY YOU REALLY HATE TOM BRADY – Jeff Pearlman at Bleacher Report with a half-satire look at why people actually dislike the Patriots QB.

This part was fascinating:

The leading voice in category B is John Teerlinck, a longtime NFL defensive line coach who retired in 2012 after 11 years with the Colts. In 27 total seasons in the league (four as a player, 23 on the sidelines), Teerlinck says he witnessed every sort of imaginable rules violation. Vaseline-coated jerseys? Check. Taping the practices of opposing teams? Check. Paying off players for vicious hits? Check. Deflating and inflating footballs? Check.

“Everyone—and I mean everyone—is guilty of doctoring and messing with footballs,” he says. “But the media makes a big deal out of something that’s not a big deal. At home games, I’ve seen teams take 50 footballs, put them in the sun, roll them around, scuff them up. I’ve seen kickers take 45-pound plates from the bench room, put the nose of the football through the weight and drop the ball through, just to break the nose off either end of the ball and un-stiff it. I can tell you stories about two-way glass divides where one team spies on the other. I can tell you about microphones in the visiting team’s locker room. I can tell you about guys coming in and taking pictures of what coaches write on the board. There’s no end to it.”

Wait, what?

“When you’re good, people don’t like you,” says Teerlinck. “The cheating thing—that’s just bulls–t. Tom Brady is really good.”

Tom Brady has done his time for Deflategate, but the science says he’s not guilty – MIT Professor (and Eagles fan) John Leonard reacts after Exponent’s defense of its Wells Report work in John Branch’s recent advertorial in The New York Times.

He challenges the Exponent scientists to show their work.

Respectfully, I request Dr. Robert Caligiuri, Corporate Vice President at Exponent, to review his team’s work for the Logo Gauge and to explain what seems to clearly be either an error in logic or an error in computation. In my opinion, the league’s experts should publish a correction: “If referee Walt Anderson used the Logo gauge, the Patriots halftime measurements are fully explained by the environmental factors tested under the most likely game conditions and circumstances.”

Specifically, I believe Exponent should clarify their decision not to retract or qualify their findings based on the readily apparent errors in Figures 26, 27 and 28. These figures show the transient pressure curves for the Logo Gauge measurements of the two teams’ footballs over the course of halftime. It applies a calibration conversion of the Patriots Logo Gauge values to match a more accurate “master gauge” that Exponent used in its experiments. (Exponent’s master gauge costs about $1000; Anderson’s gauges cost about $20; in measurement, cost translates to accuracy.)


In an ideal world, I would love to get the chance to talk through many of the details of the case with Exponent’s scientists. I am extremely curious if they have additional experimental data not included in the report—for example, did they perform simulations with the Logo Gauge with a 71°F locker room temperature? Are they willing to publish the individual ball-by-ball measured values for their simulations? Did they perform simulations that included the rubbing procedure? I can think of many questions to ask and additional experiments that would be interesting to perform.

Tom Brady’s Revenge Tour Has NFL Up at Night – Mike Freeman has some interesting quotes.

An AFC defensive assistant coach put it rather succinctly, and he’s right.

“Thanks to Roger Goodell,” said the coach, “Tom Brady is going to kill us all.”



6 thoughts on “Patriots Reading List

  1. I read the ESPN piece and I think you’re being a little too harsh, Bruce. Those two comments you quoted stand out as being the only anonymous quotes in the story. And some of the guys who did go on he record, like Harbaugh, surprised me with their points. Anyway, the insight into BBs philosophy and his work ethic were not surprising, but fascinating anyway.


    1. the 2nd remark is attributed to a former nfl coach while the first one specifies head coach – the first one seems to fit with the persona of a former locker stuffer hardo


  2. I doubt the anonymously quoted turd in the punchbowl is Shula. He was out of coaching 5 years before BB took the Patriots job, and I think he only coached against him once while BB was at Cleveland. Besides, I don’t think Mr. Competition Committee down there in South Florida is doing well enough, health wise, to even grant interviews, though I could be wrong.

    Could it be Dungy? I’m certain that Polian was one of the 6,000 unnamed sources in Van Natta’s hit piece last year. Some of those quotes could only have come from a Colts guy. The bitterness and pettiness of that pathetic organization in Indy can never be underestimated. Remember, Dungy once said that Spygate was bad, or something like that, and then had to walk it back (this was while he was still coaching). Funny how an organization with a reprobate drug addict for an owner, with a long-standing suspicion of having pumped in fake crowd noise for years, that tanked an entire regular season on purpose to be able to draft Andrew Luck, and that started De-FAME-gate with their b.s. email to the league office in Nuremburg is still viewed as one of the “good guy” organizations in the league. They’re also just chicken-bleep enough to hide behind anonymity as they bash Belichick. The stink runs deep throughout that entire organization as well as the pom-pom-waving media morons that cover it (Doyel, Kravitz, et al).

    I don’t get the Dan Reeves insinuation. Has he done some BB bashing in the past? If so, I never heard anything about that.

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  3. That quote has Herm Edwards written all over it….a pretty easy guy to track down for an ESPN employee….


    1. Good point.

      I thought about Edwards, too, but I always got the impression that he respected Belichick, and we also know that he never took Spygate seriously because he was allegedly “waving” at the Patriots’ sideline camera guy on the Matt Walsh tapes.

      However, the “failed football player” comment does give me pause about Edwards, because Dungy was just a special teamer with the Steelers — hardly a smashingly successful playing career — while Edwards was a starter on a good Philadelphia team under Vermeil.


  4. That definitely sounds like a Herm Edwards quote. Plus, being a fellow ESPN employee, it would be easy for Fleming to connect with him.


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