Bill Belichick, notorious for his curt answers during interviews — and prickly attitude toward the media — could be a great NFL TV analyst if he ever wanted to try, some sports TV insiders believe.
The 71-year-old coach is still chasing the late, great Don Shula for all-time coaching wins, and he’s the highest-paid head coach in the NFL, pulling down an estimated $20 million.
Despite his peevish attitude, Belichick’s Patriots pressers are still must-see TV. If only to watch him stubbornly refuse to give an inch to the media (“We’re on to Cincinnati”).
Those who know Belichick say he’s funny, engaging, and incisive behind the scenes. A walking, talking encyclopedia of football knowledge. He’s also the winningest coach in Super Bowl history, six with Tom Brady and two as a defensive coordinator for Bill Parcells’ New York Giants.
Former players from his Patriots dynasty are all the rage on NFL TV these days, with Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, and Julian Edelman all landing lucrative gigs.
Now in his 24th season with the New England Patriots, Belichick is coming off the worst loss of his coaching career: a 38-3 drubbing at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.
On Sunday, he benched Mac Jones, a first-round quarterback with the weakest throwing arm in the league, according to ESPN’s Rex Ryan. His 1-3 Pats are tied with the New York Jets for dead-last in the AFC East division they dominated for decades.
And Brady won’t be riding to the rescue as he preps for his role as Fox Sports’ No. 1 NFL game analyst in 2024.
“Belichick is super, super engaging with those he talks to. He knows the history of the game inside and out,” NFL Network’s Peter Schrager told Front Office Sports.
“I work with Edelman on Fox and McCourty on ‘Good Morning Football.’ You look around the landscape, Brady is coming, Gronk is with Fox, Devin McCourty is on NBC. There’s a little Belichick tree of media guys. You better believe they all say, ‘If you really got to know Bill, you’d look at him in a different way. Or if you heard him in a meeting he’s hilarious. Or Bill is the smartest guy.’
“If Belichick ever wanted to do this, I would be a captive audience to listen to him on one of these shows. He’d be great,” Schrager said.
Jamie Erdahl of “Good Morning Football” got to know Belichick during her time as a reporter at NESN in Boston. He’s full of surprises, she said. Like the time he launched into an impromptu history of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a visit to Cleveland.
“Sometimes the delivery is gruff — or he doesn’t want to get into the game side of it. But his takes on other things in life, I think, are tremendous,” Erdahl said.
On those rare occasions when the taciturn Belichick drops his guard, you can see glimpses of the potential. When he was asked about Travis Kelce’s budding romance with Taylor Swift, he quipped she’d be the star tight end’s “best catch” ever.
Anybody who watched ESPN’s “The Two Bills” — about the complicated relationship between Belichick and his mentor Parcells — would recognize there’s a, dare we say it, sensitive side he hides from the media.
Don’t forget, Belichick was nominated for a Sports Emmy in 2020 in the category of “Outstanding Sports Personality — Studio Analyst” for his work on NFLN’s “NFL 100 All-Time Team.” (He didn’t win the trophy — but the show did.)
So would Belichick ever join the media? Stranger things have happened: Media-hating Bob Knight joined those “damn people from television” at ESPN from 2008 to 2015.
He’ll never be touchy-feely. But like all great coaches, Belichick is a great teacher and communicator. Maybe for his last act he teaches fans things they never knew about pro football.