The Buffalo Bills went to Foxoboro and absolutely handed it to the New England Patriots today, a sharp reversal from their previous meeting.
Bill Belichick isn’t far from the warmest media room presence after wins, much less after losing to a divisional opponent at home in the middle of a playoff race, which means reporters tend to tread fairly carefully.
Today, though, one journo ventured quite a ways off the usual script, eschewing football entirely and asking the coach with a resting face made of Aggro Crag about his New Year’s resolutions.
— Ari Meirov (@AriMeirov) December 26, 2021
“Football aside, sorry, but I’m doing a story about New Year’s resolutions, and I wondered if you had any you wanted to share with your fans and our readers?”
“Yeah, no, not right now. Maybe next week.”
Was Belichick ever going to answer that question at all, much less during a postgame press conference after a loss in late December? Probably not. But is there any harm in asking? A lot of detractors would point to not reading the room, or even taking question time from a beat writer looking to fill a gamer with a more traditional football question.
That said, if you’re a reporter working on a story, you don’t always get to dictate when and where you get availability to ask the questions necessary to complete your work. If Belichick had actually launched into a few resolutions, that would absolutely be fascinating to a wider audience.
Let's be honest. Who wouldn't want to know Bill Belichick's New Year's resolutions?
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) December 26, 2021
And there’s no real rule against it. If anything, variety like this helps to avoid things becoming too staid; Belichick for years has carefully cultivated a relationship with the media that allows him to do pretty much whatever he wants in terms of question avoidance. If questions like this help puncture that persona even just a bit to get to a bit of humanity, even in service of a piece on holiday resolutions, isn’t that worth asking?
Worse are the reporters who scowl and tsk-tsk about this, yet will gladly scarf up any response for a note, column or to include in a story.
If he gave a couple of resolutions they would wet their pants to tweet first and then write 10-12 inches.
— More Collard Greens, Please (@BigAlFishes) December 26, 2021
Belichick in recent weeks apologized for being short with the media after a different loss, and if anything he was quite diplomatic with his answer to this one. Maybe he will end up offering a few New Year’s resolutions at some point this week, and if he does, they will absolutely be covered in some form or fashion, which will be some nice retroactive vindication for having asked the question in the first place.