One of the more eye-opening details in ESPN’s recent report about alleged dysfunction within the Patriots was that Bill Belichick and Roger Goodell have a close relationship. Is it really true that the commissioner who busted the Patriots for Spygate and Deflategate has now become buddies with New England’s coach?
Belichick says one detail of the story — that Belichick met last week with the commissioner — is simply false.
“That’s absolutely not true,” he said on WEEI. “The last time I saw the commissioner was before our game against Oakland in Mexico City. He was on the sideline and I saw him before the game and wished each other well. That is the last time I saw him.”
ESPN later amended the story to say that the NFL said Belichick and Goodell met a year ago, not last week. Asked specifically whether the ESPN report that he is “good friends with Goodell” is true, Belichick didn’t come right out and deny it but he indicated that “good friends” is an incorrect characterization of their relationship.
“Well, again, he’s the commissioner,” Belichick said. “Certainly, I am a coach, he’s the commissioner. I think we know what that kind of relationship is, as far as saying hello to him and talking to him, that kind of thing. As far as seeing him last week, I mean, no.”
So as the Patriots deny much of the story, we can add Belichick’s relationship with Goodell to the list of issues that are not, according to New England, as ESPN is making them appear.