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The Bill Belichick media training seminar, in two questions

Belichick Getty Images

On Thursday night, the Patriots played the Lions.  Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork dressed for the game, but he didn’t play.  Joe Vellano, an undrafted free agent from Maryland, got the start in place of Wilfork.

And so when members of the New England media had a chance to question coach Bill Belichick on Friday regarding Wilfork’s absence from the game, they did.  And when Belichick answered, he provided perhaps the most extreme example yet on how to answer a question without answering a question.

Here’s the excerpt, from the transcript distributed by the team.

Q:  For those of us who weren’t there last night, can you update us on why Vince Wifork didn’t play?

BB:  We just didn’t put him in.  That’s why.

Q:  Because?

BB:  Because there were other players who played.

Technically, the answers are accurate.  Wilfork didn’t play because the Patriots didn’t put him in the game, and they didn’t put him in the game because they used other players.

The overriding message is this:  “None of your damn business.”  So why not just say, “None of your damn business”?

The reality is that, if Wilfork is injured, Belichick has no obligation in the preseason to say so.  And he never has any obligation to explain why an otherwise healthy guy doesn’t play.

Still, if he doesn’t want to answer a question, why not just say, “I prefer not to get into that”?  It’s basically what he said, but in a way that will do nothing to make those already inclined to think he’s a jerk think he’s anything but a jerk.  And it also could prompt any who may be on the fence about Belichick to conclude, “Wow, this guy is a jerk.”

Ultimately, Belichick doesn’t care what anyone thinks.  At a certain level, that’s admirable.  But it’s also pointless, especially when there’s a way to answer questions that lets him say nothing without coming off as a jerk.

We’ve heard from many league insiders over the years that Belichick actually isn’t a jerk.  It would be harder to convince anyone of that based on his answers to Friday’s questions about Wilfork.

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73 Responses to “The Bill Belichick media training seminar, in two questions”
  1. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 23, 2013 5:22 PM

    In fairness, Bill did go on to mention that Wilfork was born in October, and that Vellano’s ancestors came from Italy, to try to shed more light on the decision.

  2. tim8450 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:25 PM

    As a Patriots fan, I prefer Belichick to be a jerk to the media. Seriously, they usually deserve it.

    I am still laughing at his response. Priceless.

  3. blue18hutthutt says: Aug 23, 2013 5:26 PM

    Hilarious. I love his contempt for the media

  4. gronkspike802 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:27 PM

    The Patriots already know Wilfork will be an elite DT. He knows the defense inside and out. Hes also getting old. Makes sense to rest him and get a better look at some of the new guys they have.

    Oh and if Bellichick said “I prefer not to get into that”, the media would of just kept asking why, like a little kid. Hes learned it’s best to just not even give you people the chance. He may be a jerk to the media, but he gets paid to coach, not be everybody’s friend.

  5. mackcarrington says: Aug 23, 2013 5:28 PM

    If Belichick’s superiors don’t have any problem with the way he addresses the media, why make a big deal about it? I love The way he deals with the media while people like Joe Girardi make me sick.
    He sits there answering every ridiculous and inane question they throw at him, while appearing to feel sorry that he can’t give them more.

  6. aa1829 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:29 PM

    Hope he never sees another superbowl.

  7. getyourownname says: Aug 23, 2013 5:29 PM

    Another journalist nose out of joint.

    Coaches are there to develop teams and win games. As long as he complies with league rules regarding interviews, it’s his call.

  8. heeltouchdown.com says: Aug 23, 2013 5:30 PM

    You can always count on Bill Belichick for a witty response. He gets his kicks off of novice reporters.

  9. rc33 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:30 PM

    Love it. Are you kidding me? Belichcick owes the media nothing, as in “absolutely zero.”

  10. rushmatic says: Aug 23, 2013 5:30 PM

    Personally, I love watching Belichick ruffle your very delicate feathers. He pretty good at it. Also, “None of your business” from Belichick’s mouth? Can you imagine the play on this website following that press conference?

    He knows what he’s doing. You don’t.

  11. hartleechung says: Aug 23, 2013 5:31 PM

    It’s the “soccer mom society”…you are a jerk for giving a straight answer with no gossip involved.

  12. iced107 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:31 PM

    Still, if he doesn’t want to answer a question, why not just say, “I prefer not to get into that”?

    We’ve heard from many league insiders over the years that Belichick actually isn’t a jerk. It would be harder to convince anyone of that based on his answers to Friday’s questions about Wilfork.

    —————————————————————–

    Right – because telling the media ‘he doesn’t want to get into that’ always drops the issue and they never keep asking the same question over and over…That answer would be followed with “Why” and constant stupid questions until the media felt satisfied.

    You want to know why the media gets treated like this? Because of the people who call themselves ‘journalists’ when they take partial quotes and truths and make it into a huge story…

    And people wonder why some coaches/players have a disdain for the media.

  13. bigmack305 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:31 PM

    If Tebow sat down to think and consider his future, would that be considered a “Christian Ponder”?

  14. grpatriot says: Aug 23, 2013 5:32 PM

    BB for President!!!!!

  15. thelastbesthope says: Aug 23, 2013 5:34 PM

    He don’t hafta explain…so he don’t.

    He ain’t running for public office.

  16. keylimelight says: Aug 23, 2013 5:36 PM

    I can understand a coach’s contempt for the media, too often the questions are petty or just plain stupid.

    But to ask why a key player did not play is pretty straight forward. Mike is right, reading between the lines the coach is saying: I am not going to tell why.

    This kind of contempt is unprofessional and reason enough to conclude that those who insist that he’s not a jerk are obviously wrong.

  17. h3min1230 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:37 PM

    He’d be more of a jerk if he cared what others think.

  18. conormacleod says: Aug 23, 2013 5:38 PM

    He’s a jerk.

  19. mancave001 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:38 PM

    To be fair, Belicheat was also in a bad mood after that loss.

  20. r8rsfan says: Aug 23, 2013 5:43 PM

    The media sure is easily offended. Mama taught me sticks and stones would break my bones but words will never hurt me.

  21. vicnocal says: Aug 23, 2013 5:44 PM

    He could’ve just said “We already know what Vince can do; we wanted to see some of the other guys play.”

  22. FinFan68 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:44 PM

    He comes off as a jerk to media people. Those same people who have no idea when to stop trying to rephrase the same question and just let it go. The same people who make a living off of twisting words into a bogus story/report or changing their meaning by creative editing. It just looks to me like he hasn’t got the time or inclination to placate certain people.

    Honestly, some of the folks in the media remind me of the kids in the back seat asking “Are we there yet?” every other minute. Surely you can see how that might get a tad annoying to those people forced to endure media questions over and over again…especially since the first question was an admission that he had no idea if that question had already been answered.

  23. mrbigass says: Aug 23, 2013 5:46 PM

    Jerk store……..

  24. j0esixpack says: Aug 23, 2013 5:46 PM

    It’s too bad Belichick isn’t more like Wrecks Ryan.

    Keep Wrecks talking long enough and he’d divulge which players are injured, where opposing players can target to cause the most long-term injury to Jets players, and provide details about tattoos and which player jerseys (and cleats) he most fantasizes about his wife wearing.

  25. toonloonboon says: Aug 23, 2013 5:51 PM

    thats awesome

  26. pynflfan says: Aug 23, 2013 5:51 PM

    I love it

  27. yohochecko says: Aug 23, 2013 5:51 PM

    I’ve experienced first hand that Belichick is a great guy. His media interactions are simply a part of his job; a role he plays. Calling a man a jerk because of evasive press conference answers is just a needy media that bemoans anyone who doesn’t write their stories for them with boisterous quotations.

  28. thingamajig says: Aug 23, 2013 5:51 PM

    He’s a jerk only to the media because he doesn’t care what they think and I’m guessing has no respect for them.

  29. bcgreg says: Aug 23, 2013 5:51 PM

    Here’s a thought. The jerks are the media guys who ask stupid questions that they know will not be answered in detail. You’d think THEY would learn by now.

    Keep at it, Bill. You da man!

  30. stevemo says: Aug 23, 2013 5:53 PM

    Saying “None of your damn business” is supposed to make you seem like you’re not a jerk?

  31. wferg1121 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:54 PM

    I wonder if any one of the media were laughing when he said that, because I LMAO when I read this…

  32. demons87 says: Aug 23, 2013 5:57 PM

    Those of us in office cubicles realize he just gave an IT answer. It is a technically correct, but totally useless answer.

  33. patriotsdefense says: Aug 23, 2013 5:57 PM

    Are you kidding me? I find his press conferences hilarious. It’s like, how do I answer this in the shortest most opaque yet accurate manner? I would hate it if I were in the media. But outside the media most of a New England persuasion find a great deal of humor in his chill.

  34. Land of Sky Blue Water says: Aug 23, 2013 5:59 PM

    If I were in his position, I would treat the media with the exact same amount of contempt.

  35. surfinbird1 says: Aug 23, 2013 6:02 PM

    Just a jerk to the media. Those answers made me laugh after a bad day.

  36. lanman11 says: Aug 23, 2013 6:03 PM

    If he says” I’d prefer not to get into that right now,” it starts a witch hunt for the answer as to why Wilfork didn’t play.

    If he say “because other players played,” it starts a witch hunt to prove BB is a jerk.

    Get it?

  37. derfshambeaux says: Aug 23, 2013 6:07 PM

    Give me a break. The media is full of jerks. Give Belichick credit for not sinking to their level.

  38. reasonablemindsays says: Aug 23, 2013 6:10 PM

    Sometimes when you read Belichicks quotes you think he’s retarded. Then again, it would take a retard to go 10 seasons without winning a Superbowl with Tom Brady as your QB.

  39. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Aug 23, 2013 6:15 PM

    i disagree florio. from the play by play it was apparent from belichicks first answer that he wasn’t going to explain wilfork’s absence.

    the second question was not really a question since the person posing it knew he already had as good an answer as he was getting. its like the grandstanding senator asking the mobster the third question once the guy has already taken the fifth twice. that’s why belichick tweaked him with the second answer.

  40. jakec4 says: Aug 23, 2013 6:16 PM

    I thought the story of the young fan and his dad in Martha’s Vineyard who spotted Belichick in a car only to have the window rolled up on them when the two approached Belichick was common knowledge. Belichick is a tool.

  41. kgun80 says: Aug 23, 2013 6:22 PM

    I should hate him for pounding on my Bills for the last decade but I think the guy is a great coach.. Not to mention its hilarious how he sticks it to the media.

  42. oldspice1010 says: Aug 23, 2013 6:29 PM

    Classic Bill, when you see genius at work you have to take your hats off and applaud.

    This is a Colts and Manning fan who has been on the receiving end of Belichick led Pat before.

    I know they haven won the Big one is a while but they are always knocking on the door.

    Also Mike, these are the kind of astute observations why I keep hitting PFT several times a day and don’t remember the last time I logged into the Four letter network.

  43. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 23, 2013 6:34 PM

    Bilious Bill Coldly.

  44. thegonz13 says: Aug 23, 2013 6:50 PM

    When he coached the Browns, a reporter once asked him “Can I ask you three questions?”, to which Belichick answered “That’s one question. What are the other two?”.

    Belichick always showed unbridled disdain for the media but that was a classic.

  45. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 23, 2013 6:55 PM

    Belichik may be a man of few words but every one of them is full to overflowing with contempt.

  46. 6ball says: Aug 23, 2013 7:04 PM

    .

    If you read the whole article on boston.com, you would note that he gave a 7 paragraph response to a question regarding the one TE vs two TE formations. This came immediately following the Wilfork query.

    .

  47. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 23, 2013 7:09 PM

    Before you judge the man, remember that Bill comes from a world where even the trophy wives are ugly. It’s hard to be upbeat and gracious.

  48. pinion8ted says: Aug 23, 2013 7:15 PM

    jakec4 says: Aug 23, 2013 6:16 PM

    I thought the story of the young fan and his dad in Martha’s Vineyard who spotted Belichick in a car only to have the window rolled up on them when the two approached Belichick was common knowledge. Belichick is a tool.
    ———————————————————-
    Every Patriots fan in New England knows BB works 360 days of the year, yet this tool chooses to bother him on the one week of vacation he takes????

    The moron DESERVED to have that window rolled up on him, leave the man ALONE, would you!

  49. melikefootball says: Aug 23, 2013 7:31 PM

    But it is interesting the league office has fined and reprimanded other coaches for not being up front with the media.

  50. easywolf says: Aug 23, 2013 8:18 PM

    Media: Get a LIFE!

  51. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 23, 2013 8:31 PM

    Belichik at the Pearly Gates –

    BB: “Wow those are impressive gates do they keep the riff raff out?”

    St. Pete: “Yup.”.

    BB: “Glad to hear that, because my name is Bill Belichik.”.

    St. P: “Yeah, I already knew.”.

  52. cranespy says: Aug 23, 2013 8:36 PM

    Huge Pats fan here…..could care less what anyone thinks of BB……I am more concerned about the manhandling the Lions put on NE. There is a common thread these past few years….the Pats can NOT handle physical opponents….look at the majority of losses the last several years….physical teams generally always handle NE. Could be a tough year in Foxboro….

  53. isthereanyusernamesleft says: Aug 23, 2013 9:08 PM

    I love that man!!! Lol

  54. j0esixpack says: Aug 23, 2013 9:54 PM

    Here’s the thing the Patriots haters out there don’t understand.

    When he’s a jerk to the media like that, refusing to divulge info on guys who play all for him – the players know he’s ultimately trying to protect THEM

    They see a coach who is willing to look like a jerk if that might help prevent them from being targeted by the Pollards of the NFL

    Then they play that much harder for him

  55. bookofelisha10 says: Aug 23, 2013 9:59 PM

    OL its hard not to love the hoody- his media appearances and post game conferences are hilarious. he just doesnt care i love it

  56. steelcurtainwereonpedstoo says: Aug 23, 2013 10:31 PM

    And people wonder why some coaches/players have a disdain for the media.
    >>>>
    Exactly. Like he owes the media anything.

  57. icdogg says: Aug 23, 2013 10:32 PM

    Everyone already knows what Wilfork can do and he doesn’t need the extra work at his age nor the risk of injury in a meaningless game.

  58. BigBeachBall says: Aug 23, 2013 11:05 PM

    should have asked him why he didn’t play his all pro tight end….

  59. fdugrad says: Aug 23, 2013 11:12 PM

    “Those already inclined to think he is a jerk…” Are you saying that there are people out in the world who DON’T think he’s a jerk?

  60. elcharroone says: Aug 23, 2013 11:21 PM

    They didn’t put Tim Tebow in either. Why? Because other players who played. It really is not the end of Tim Tebow. I am willing to bet that Bill Belichick has a surprise in store for all of us, especially the anti-Tebow crowd.

  61. elcharroone says: Aug 23, 2013 11:24 PM

    As a general rule and in the majority of cases the media is non-integrous. All media. I wouldn’t give the media any more than Bill did either.

  62. stinemonster says: Aug 24, 2013 12:27 AM

    I can’t stand the Patriots but I loved his response.

    Only based on the title of the post I have to add this…
    “The Bill Belichick media training seminar, in two questions”

    Why did I cheat?
    Do you really have to ask that since I haven’t won a SB since I got busted?

  63. chlstn says: Aug 24, 2013 8:27 AM

    If BB did give a lengthy explanation the media would simply twist that around. The media is the problem here not the coach. Besides what would you bitch about if he did give it to you straight?

  64. bonecity7 says: Aug 24, 2013 8:29 AM

    cranespy says: Aug 23, 2013 8:36 PM

    Huge Pats fan here…..could care less what anyone thinks of BB……I am more concerned about the manhandling the Lions put on NE. There is a common thread these past few years….the Pats can NOT handle physical opponents….look at the majority of losses the last several years….physical teams generally always handle NE. Could be a tough year in Foxboro….
    ——————————————————-
    cranespy,

    I find it odd that as a huge Pats fan, you forget that the Lions manhandled the Pats in preseason in 2011, and the Pats went on to play in the Superbowl.

  65. patriots420 says: Aug 24, 2013 10:59 AM

    Mike I think you need to take a time out, go to the bathroom or in a place where nobody will see you, and rearrange your silky panties so that they are not bunched up and irritating you.

    Your welcome :)

  66. tunescribe says: Aug 24, 2013 11:04 AM

    We get it, Florio. You have a strong, abiding dislike for Bill Belichick and the Patriots franchise. No need to keep harping on it as you do with annoying regularity.

  67. nananatman says: Aug 24, 2013 11:20 AM

    He doesn’t care unless he can tape it at someone else’s practice and watch it with the team and then win three Bowls and then get caught and never win another Bowl but always come in first in a terrible division so he looks like a genius but can’t beat a Coughlin team even with his TE Murdertron playing. For that matter where was Murdertron when Plexico “shot himself” in the leg?

  68. yourteamstinks says: Aug 24, 2013 11:25 AM

    Also, Belicheck, you owe me $500 for the two tickets I purchased to an AFC championship game that has tainted results as a direct result of your cheating.

  69. cranespy says: Aug 24, 2013 2:03 PM

    bonecity7

    Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks, Giants…..all play physical football…..The Pats consistently have difficulty against those teams. As for this season…..they do not have an abundance of physical opponents on the schedule so that should help with their path to the AFC Championship which is shaping up to be a Broncos-Pats rematch. There is a great possibility that game could be in Denver.

  70. nomoreseasontix says: Aug 24, 2013 2:48 PM

    I tried that technique at work:

    Boss: Why weren’t you at work yesterday?
    Me: Because I was someplace else.

    Didn’t work out very well. Anyone hiring?

  71. bubbybrister/shovelpass says: Aug 25, 2013 2:42 PM

    So, everyone LOVES Bill for his contemptable non-answers during a dopey preseason game, but heaven forbid that someone would actually answer a question several times over and over succinctly (as rex did)…

    Perhaps this should’ve been his response…so Pats fans everywhere would LOVE themselves some Rex Ryan…right?

    Media : Rex, why was Sanchez playing in the fourth qtr. against the scrubs?

    Rex : Because Geno wasn’t in the huddle…

    Pats fans must really love not knowing anything about their beloved team… So why did your team lay an egg against the Lions? (hint: the answer is NOT “because it is pre-season, so who cares…”)

  72. dudeicle says: Aug 26, 2013 1:43 AM

    and if the member of the media wanted to know if Vince is injured… why didn’t he just ask if Vince was injured rather that the round-a-bout way? Ask a round-a-bout question, get a round-a-bout answer.

  73. lrjets says: Aug 26, 2013 11:49 AM

    j0esixpack says:Aug 23, 2013 9:54 PM

    Here’s the thing the Patriots haters out there don’t understand.
    ________________________

    What don’t YOU understand as a Jets hater?

    (Shocked you have time to post here)

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