Bill Belichick became coach of the Patriots in 2000. That was 18 years ago. George W. Bush had not been elected President yet (he was still criticizing Al Gore for claiming he invented the internet), the curse of the bambino was very much alive as the Boston Red Sox had not won a World Series since 1918, Americans were just happy to survive the Y2K bug as computers did not crash when the year turned from 1999 to 2000, there was no Facebook (which Belichick has jokingly referred to as Myface given his disdain for the platform) twitter, instagram, snap chat or any social media did not exist. Google was only two years old and had not yet monopolized the internet. Remember AIM instant messenger anyone.
But one thing has not changed: Belichick's disdain for the press. Veteran Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy who remembers when the Patriots did not have a practice field of their own and players had to drive their cars to a field next to a mental hospital in order to practice - "attempted" to get answers about Malcolm Butler being benched in the Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at 8:30 a.m this morning from Belichick. Training camp begins Thursday.
Belichick, however, had already moved on from Shaughnessy. He gave no answers to Shaughnessy because he is on to 2018. Belichick, a student of history, dismissed class early. For history class was all about the present on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. Belichick refused to answer any questions about Butler's benching after the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. No one is quite sure when is the right time to talk about Butler's benching. After the game (No), the offseason (No), before training camp starts (No). So the fans have no answers. Not just on this topic either. Belichick refused to answer questions about his relationship with former Pats quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (Belichick supposedly texted with his former back QB after every San Francisco win last year - the press could have used the same encouragement Wednesday morning) and whether it might be true that the Pats would trade wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
Belichick took a shot at Shaughnessy when he said "It's important for me to have a good season in 2018. I'm going to do everything I can to do that, to do the best I can for our football team. That's my job, that's my responsibility and that's what I am going to try to do. Hopefully, you can respect that, but maybe not."
Veterans reporters, rookie reporters, Belichick treats them all the same. At least for reporters sake, Belichick can't send them home like he could with players if they are late or have a bad practice. Ask a question Belichick does not like and one must accept the evil stare.
Belichick has shown that he is not concerned what the media thinks of him anymore than he was 18 years ago. Nor is he concerned with their desire to get information. His only focus is winning a sixth Super Bowl in 2018 and avoiding distractions (which is the way he views the media). Such a view will only make him more popular with the fans of New England.
Other Notes: Neither Special Teams ace Matthew Slater nor S Devin McCourty had any comment regarding the national anthem controversy. S Devin McCourty believes that the positive work that players are doing in their communities needs to receive more coverage. He hopes there will be more funding for underprivileged schools. Both Slater and McCourty admire the longevity of Tom Brady. Both said he leads by example more than with words. McCourty also hopes that a compromise can be worked out between between the players and owners over the national anthem issue. Patriots C David Andrews, who is normally stoic, had the funniest comment of the day when asked about newly acquired 6 foot 8 inch 359 offensive lineman Trent Brown from San Francisco, "He's a massive guy. I wouldn't have wanted to feed him as a child, that's for sure."