I'm the reporter who got Bill Belichick to say 'Jesus Christ'

Published: 7/29/2016 9:21:03 PM
Modified: 7/29/2016 9:20:12 PM
I’m the reporter who got Bill Belichick to say, “Jesus Christ,” this morning. His now meme-worthy response lit up Twitter and everyone has had some fun — a little at my expense. Cool. Asking Bill Belichick a question is usually a fruitless endeavor. I’ve literally spent 10 years thinking about how to squeeze a genuine quote from this guy. I finally succeeded.

Now, people are calling my question, “stupid,” and that’s their prerogative. I assumed that risk going in. Obviously the Hall of Fame QB is getting his gig back. But let’s consider a few things. 

First, NO ONE FOLLOWED UP on Wednesday when Belichick said Brady would be the starter in Week 5. It’s the media’s job to ask there, “Well, what if Garoppolo surprises us? Is there a performance component to that decision?” In almost any other media room, the question comes up. But Belichick has lulled everyone into complacency. 

Keep in mind, Belichick made that announcement before the team had played a single practice. Tom Brady’s greatness is only viable for as long as he can move in the pocket and throw accurately. Some day (probably in the distant future), the coaches here may observe during training camp that Brady’s skills have diminished. That’s what happened to Drew Bledsoe. So, maybe Drew Bledsoe wouldn’t find my question particularly stupid.

Second, consider the question that came immediately before mine in this press conference, which is representative of most questions in a Belichick press conference. 

“How important is it to get players working with different players and more specifically how important is it for Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo to be rotating who they are working with?”

Basically, is it important for football players to practice with different football players? A. Of course this is important. This question is even more obvious than the one I asked. B. The answer to this question is profoundly boring, so no one is talking about it and calling the reporter stupid.

For those of you not familiar with Belichick press conferences, they are essentially a series of stupid questions worded in peculiar ways in the hopes that he’ll break form and say something quotable.  

The thing is, Belichick’s abrasiveness has worn the media down to such a degree that people rarely attempt to ask him thought-provoking questions. Questions like: Is Tom Brady’s job secure in the event of tremendous play by his backup? You ask that and Belichick pushes back hard. What’s discouraging is that this is doubly difficult because, as I can now bear witness, the media magnifies this response with a hammering of its own.

In addition to Belichick discouraging me, the media itself is taking aim at the question. Meanwhile, virtually all of Boston and much of the national media reported on the end result. Let’s say my question was stupid. Let’s say it wasn’t my best question. Do I deserve the derision of my colleagues for that? Could this kind of gang-pile perhaps discourage someone from some day asking a really great, but otherwise abnormal question? Maybe. 

So, Bill Belichick feel free to curse at me all you want. You were right. It’s a ridiculous notion. That said, it’s the media job to discuss these potentially ridiculous notions, and not discourage them. Maybe when everyone gets a story out of the question, it’s not exactly fair to call it “stupid.” 

David Brown covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can e-mail him at writingthebeat@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @thatdavebrown
<span style="font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 11px; line-height: 15px;">New England Patriots head coach Bill </span><font color="red" style="font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 11px; line-height: 15px;">Belichick</font><span style="font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 11px; line-height: 15px;"> speaks during a news conference before an NFL football training camp practice Friday, July 29, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)</span>

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