ATLANTA — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked by a reporter Wednesday whether he would consider writing a book when his career is over. As he often does, Belichick deflected the topic by mentioning that his only focus is the upcoming game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Then there was a pause before Belichick had a question of his own.
“Would you buy one?”
That sparked laughter throughout the room.
Belichick’s wit and dry sense of humor don’t often shine through when he’s behind the dais. But if there is a time when they do, it’s the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Of course, Belichick has been to nine of them as Patriots head coach, so he knows this drill well.
Nothing could top what he said before Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, when he noted that he never received much friendly hospitality until the time he unsuccessfully went for it on fourth-and-2 — a reference to the 2009 season and a 35-34 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
But Belichick was clearly in his element this week, including on Wednesday, when he went on for 6 minutes, 15 seconds when asked how much he values history. At the end of his answer, he smiled and said, “That’s a long answer to a short question. Thank you for getting me going on that. Class will start tomorrow at 9.”
Because I’m a masochist, I transcribed Bill Belichick’s entire soliloquy on football history from today’s news conference. 953 words. Six minutes and 15 seconds. Fascinating stuff. Here it is in full: pic.twitter.com/y94DEgZrAy
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) January 31, 2019
There were some similar moments along the way, starting from Monday’s opening night, when he sat at podium No. 5 and patiently fielded a variety of questions. When things started slowly and no one asked an initial question, he cracked, “All right, that’s it?”
Later in the week, the 66-year-old Belichick was talking about his history in the game when he said, “It’s fascinating for me to talk to people that predate me. I guess there aren’t that many more. There are a couple.”
The self-deprecating humor went over well and was reflective of how Belichick at times struck a more relaxed tone than the norm.
He said there’s no place he’d rather be than working during Super Bowl week, and it showed.