Bill Belichick Photo Credit: PMS Draft Spectacular

The Patriots’ pick is in… and Bill Belichick doesn’t like it!

In a surreal moment for anybody who watched the dour head coach snort into microphones for 24 years, Belichick sat behind the analyst’s desk Thursday for the NFL Draft. Dressed in a midnight blue sports coat and sharp pink tie (with a pink pocket square to match), the 8-time Super Bowl champ looked comically out of place next to Pat McAfee’s crew. Something we may get used to with Belichick all but confirmed to appear on The Pat McAfee Show on Mondays throughout the fall.

But then the show started, and Belichick’s football genius shined. His film breakdowns of the top QBs bordered on brutal, and were heavy on the lowlights.

Caleb Williams? His positioning is “all over the place.” Jayden Daniels? “We gotta make those [throws].” Drake Maye? Don’t even get him started. For any football fan who’s ever wanted to sit in on one of Belichick’s legendary film sessions, Thursday was like a fantasy camp.

If you played for Bill and want to be back in team meetings but not worry about your bad plays showing up on the film, then turn on the @PatMcAfeeShow this is GOLD,” tweeted Devin McCourty. 

A 12-time Patriots captain, McCourty was one of several former players who raised issue with Belichick’s depiction in The Dynasty, the Apple TV miniseries that focused far more on organizational strife than six Super Bowl titles. Through 10 episodes, Belichick was portrayed as a villain. He was blamed for Spygate, Brady’s exit, and most offensively, Aaron Hernandez.

The dramatic hit piece was produced by a slate of Hollywood characters, and copyrighted by…Kraft Dynasty LLC. One of the episodes even opened with Rupert Murdoch fawning over Robert Kraft’s leadership.

Meanwhile, the Patriots’ back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 2003 and 2004 were barely mentioned.

“I felt like I got kind of duped,” McCourty said about his experience with the production. “They only hit anything that was negative.”

With a 29-38 record over the last four years, few Patriots fans were upset when Belichick was dismissed. The gruff 72-year-old seemed out of touch with the current game, unable to relate to young players or devise a competent offense. He blew every major personnel decision over that time, too, from cutting ties with Brady to drafting his replacement.

But then the smear campaign started. Taking cues from the owner, new coach Jerod Mayo talked endlessly about instilling a different vibe, and executive Elliot Wolf said they were going for a “less hard-ass approach.” Kraft’s final say came over a 10-hour span on Apple TV, in which he called Belichick a “real schmuck” and said the all-time great coach “felt threatened” by Brady.

Apparently, Kraft was speaking about Belichick even more harshly in private. ESPN published an explosive exposé last week about Belichick’s failed job hunt, and Kraft’s role in it. The story alleges that Belichick thought he was going to land the Falcons’ job, until Kraft called Arthur Blank and warned his fellow billionaire against trusting the architect of his six Super Bowls.

That’s all to say Belichick has been getting pummeled, and people notice. His upcoming stint with Omaha Productions represents more than image rehab.

It might be the best form of revenge, too. Belichick is one of the smartest football people ever, and now the masses are going to see for themselves.

His authoritative tone was striking, and his knowledge was deep. He even shouted out high school coaches, such as Billy Miller from Newton’s IMG Academy.

The most riveting portion of the night, of course, was when the Patriots were on the clock. And Belichick did not disappoint. He ripped Maye at the start of the show, setting the scene for the main event.

“His footwork needs a lot of work. You can see here, he’s all over the place, never resets his feet, never really gets in position to throw, gets strip-sacked. Too much hopping around. Step up and throw,” Belichick said over video of the UNC QB looking overmatched.

Maye is often compared to Josh Allen, and has weighed in on the resemblance himself. Most draft analysts play up grandiose praise, hoping to hype audiences into a frenzy.

But Belichick? He wants Maye to take it down a notch. The coach who used to chide Tom Brady in practice isn’t down with a rookie who has bad footwork comparing himself to one of the game’s greats.

“Drake compares himself a lot to Josh Allen. He’s been doing that for quite a while. We’ll see how about that,” he said. “There are some similarities between them with the size and athleticism, but Josh Allen is a pretty special player now.”

Belichick was tepid on nearly every QB, saying they “all could be good players.” But he was especially critical of Maye. If BB was still running the board, the UNC product would probably be starting his NFL career elsewhere.

“He’s quick to come off the receiver here,” he said over video of Maye abandoning the pocket. “That’s as open as they’re going to get in the NFL. I’m just telling ya. They’re not gonna get open by like eight yards in the NFL. So you’ve gotta deliver it in there.”

Later, Belichick said Maye was his “lowest-rated pocket passer” in the draft.

Belichick’s blunt assessments of every top QB may indicate why he doesn’t jive with more sensitive players. But his candor will endear him to audiences. It’s easy to imagine his commentary on the ManningCast serving as content fodder all season long.

There’s an allure to Belichick that nobody can match, even Brady. TB12 has been a commercial presence in everybody’s lives for years. But Belichick never opened up, unless you were talking to him about long-snappers from 1962.

Almost every NFL pundit questioned why the Falcons selected Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall. But Belichick’s words just carry more weight.

Oh, and he also interviewed for the Falcons’ job three months ago, and they passed him over for Raheem Morris. There’s that, too.

“This is an example of where you probably could’ve traded back to take Penix,” he said. “Maybe they thought Denver or somebody else was gonna slide in—I don’t know. This seems a little high for him.” (As it turns out, Belichick was right: multiple teams were aggressively pursuing the Washington product.)

Credited with the most draft day trades in NFL history–and a notorious penchant for trading back–Belichick controlled the board. That was case Thursday as well.

When the Panthers traded back into the first round, he knew exactly whom they were taking.

But even with a gloomy public persona, everyone knew Belichick was a football savant. His actual personality was harder to pin down. For years, the Hoodie’s confidants claimed he was gregarious away from the podium–hilarious, even. But that was difficult to believe, no matter how much they insisted.

With that doubt in mind, the biggest surprise of the first round wasn’t the Falcons selecting Penix. It was Belichick unveiling the best Randy Moss impression we’ve ever heard.

If Thursday is any indication, when Belichick looks for jobs again next year, everyone will pick up. The man who spent a football lifetime scorning the media is now harassing its full power.