Wondering when Bill Belichick will be ‘prepared’ to talk about Tom Brady, Patriots’ future

Andy Hart
January 06, 2020 - 7:59 am
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick

Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

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As is so often the case when he steps up to a microphone, Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick had one simple, repetitive theme for the media during his Sunday morning season-ending press conference at Gillette Stadium.

Listen to your team news NOW.

Noting that it was “less than 12 hours” since the shocking finality of the 20-13 loss to the Titans on Wild Card Weekend, Belichick declared that he was “not prepared” to answer any questions about the future, whether related to free-agent-to-be Tom Brady or any other issue, including his own status.

As Belichick himself often says, uhhhhhhhh….what now?

The man who’s made a career doing what’s in the best interests of the football team has not “thought about the future”?

A guy whose entire philosophy around franchise-building is built upon thinking about both the short- and long-term viability of the team needs a quick, NBA-style 20-second timeout to collect himself? “Whatever’s in the future, we’ll deal with at some later point in time.”

A leader who has so often cited Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” by noting that “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought” is currently not ready for the early start on the 2020 offseason that is already very much underway?

As many a football coach has preached over the years, prior planning prevents piss-poor performance.

But alas, apparently Belichick no longer believes in being the most prepared man in all of football, the guy who’s studied, mapped out and reverse-engineered every matchup or decision he faces, on or off the football field.

Could that really be true?

Or, maybe, and this is more likely, Belichick simply didn’t want to talk about the future. Didn’t want to say he’ll be back to run the Patriots in 2020. Didn’t want to tip-toe into Brady’s future, a question that is going to not only dominate Boston sports over the coming weeks and months, but likely the entirety of the football world, maybe even overshadowing Patriots-less Super Bowl LIV itself.

Beyond correctly and honestly calling Brady an “iconic figure” in the Patriots organization, Belichick lumped the G.O.A.T. and his status in with “50 guys, 50 coaches” with uncertain futures and declared Sunday that “now is not the time” to address TB12’s future.

The hell it ain’t.

Brady said in the immediacy of the loss to Tennessee, mere minutes after throwing a pick-6 to former teammate Logan Ryan that shut the door on the season, “it’s pretty unlikely, but – yeah, hopefully unlikely” that he’ll be retiring.

So he’s looking for employment in 2020, either in the Patriots uniform that he’s worn for 20 years of unpreceded football dominance or elsewhere across the league in what might be the most stunning employer change in the history of professional sports.

But Belichick? He hasn’t thought about that? Not for one minute? Not while driving home from Gillette on some “hay is in the barn” Friday evening?

Hopefully that’s one of those deflective sports lies that coaches, general managers and owners serve up as needed.

Because the Patriots are already in the midst of what may be the most critical, interesting, challenging offseason in team history. There are endless decisions to be made, each of which could very much alter the short- and long term fortunes of the franchise.

Belichick knows that.

He knows that Brady’s status is the first and by far the most important situation that needs to be addressed, not one of “50” that will come up in no particular order.

It’s a decision that he, along with owner Robert Kraft, needs to be “prepared” to make. Which Patriots Nation has to assume they are. Right now.

Even if Belichick clearly doesn’t want to talk about it.

Related: Tom Brady isn’t only Patriots player with uncertain future