It's no shock that a fair share of football writers and analysts, especially in the Boston area, rarely say anything critical of Bill Belichick. The Patriots coach is known to be a tad surly and his long record of
dominating a weak division winning makes it difficult to find fault.
Unless you're Ron Borges...
Borges is an award winning writer who's been covering football since I was a kid, and he's not the type to be easily intimidated.
For evidence of that, check out this Boton herald article where he accuses Belichick of using the Wes Welker hit on Aqib Talib to deflect blame from the lousy job he did coaching the Patriots against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. And Borges points out this isn't the first time Belichick's used this tactic (and criticizes his colleagues for playing along with it).
It's a pretty savage read.
Bill Belichick learned most of what he knows about coaching from his longtime mentor Bill Parcells, and one of those things is the art of deflection and deceit. Both were on full display Monday morning when, as his team had done on Sunday, Belichick came up small on a big stage.
Less than 24 hours after having seen his defense and his game plan systematically destroyed by the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, Belichick avoided explaining much about what had gone wrong by opening his remarks with a false accusation that Wes Welker made “a deliberate play to take out Aqib (Talib).”
It was a brilliantly deceitful statement that changed the narrative from “Why can’t you rebuild your defense?” to whether or not his former player purposely tried to injure an ex-teammate. Belichick understood it didn’t matter that what he said was not only asinine but also a lie, nor did it matter that it made him appear petty and classless, because after a loss what’s new about that?
What it did was put the media focus on something that didn’t happen rather than all the things that did, one of which being that Welker went on to the Super Bowl while Belichick’s handpicked and overpaid replacement for him, Danny Amendola, dropped the only pass thrown to him Sunday and then disappeared like too many of his teammates.
It also avoided a logical question: “If you care so much about Talib, why didn’t you give him a contract last year?”
Belichick may hate the media, but he knows how to manipulate it. He knows today’s media has the attention span of a fruit fly and in too many cases the depth of a thimble. That being how it is, distracting them was a lot easier than distracting Peyton Manning or “Pot Roast” Knighton.
“No attempt to get open,” Belichick said of Welker’s block/pick on Talib that drew no penalty flag because it wasn’t a penalty. What it was was exactly what Belichick had taught Welker to do the previous six years.
“I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play,” Belichick said as he continued to prevaricate, knowing full well there would be no such discipline because the play was legal and a regular practice of his own wide receivers. “It’s not for me to decide but it’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.”
The proper follow-up which never came was this: “Bill, did you have your eyes closed when Rodney Harrison and Brandon Meriweather were illegally decapitating people for you and paying thousands of dollars in fines for it?”
No one asked.
Worse for Belichick, a former player who has admitted to being a big admirer of his, Donte’ Stallworth, also took him to task. Stallworth, who twice played for Belichick in New England and greeted him warmly in Miami this year, tweeted: “I have nothing but love and respect for Bill Belichick, but he’s absolutely wrong about Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib . . . and he knows it.”
It was the latter comment that was most damning because it illustrated how petty a little man Belichick can be. In Belichick’s world (aka “The Twilight Zone,” NFL edition) he created Wes Welker. He brought him in from oblivion (or at least Miami) and turned him from an afterthought into a star. The fact that he never paid him that way only made it better until Welker refused to play along and forced Belichick to franchise him for $9 million. Things went downhill from there until last winter, when he gave Welker an offer he knew he’d refuse and moved on.
Only problem is a year later Welker’s moving on to the Super Bowl while a guy once known as a defensive genius can’t seem to rebuild the defense that once won him Super Bowls.
Never one for answering real questions, Belichick avoided that by accusing Welker of something he knew was not true. What he knew was true was that it would become the lead story the next day, locally and nationally, and so it was.
The headlines were about “nasty hits” even though none happened. The story of the real nastiness in Denver, the shoddy play of his team, was buried inside. By the time people seek answers about that, Belichick will say he’s “moved on to 2014,” a process he began yesterday by heading to the Senior Bowl practices, where he won’t have to answer questions about anything.
Bill Belichick may be petty and he may have stuck it to Wes Welker one last time, but you gotta hand it to him. He’s as good at deflection as Richard Sherman.
I doubt you've read or heard anything this critical of Belichick in a while.