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'Patriot way' has run its course

07/26/2013 6:02 PM ET
By Doug Williams

Bill Belichick watches practice as the Patriots begin training camp in Foxborough, Mass.(AP)
As a football fan, and a guy who knows not to take sports too seriously, I am so sick of the "Patriot way." And by that, I really mean I'm sick of the "Belichick way."

Sport is supposed to be fun and games, literally. Professional sports consist of oversized children competing at the highest levels.

So what drives me crazy is how militaristic Bill Belichick is when it comes to dealing with the media.

For the record, I'm fully aware that he's a great coach and that his tactics with the media work. He's never in trouble for anything he says, and usually his players follow suit because he teaches them what to say.

But where is the fun in that? Is he a member of the United States government guarding top-secret information? No. He's a football coach. The most serious thing that he does takes place on Sundays, when his players go out there and semi-constructively beat the living snot out of each other.

I get that it's a massive business. There is a ton of money on the line, not only with contracts but the team, the city, etc. So in that way, it's much more than a game. But the Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since 2005. So at what point should we ask the simple question of whether Bill Belichick's media scheme -- or coaching, for that matter -- is even working?

Not only are the Patriots presumably no fun to cover, but they also haven't won a Super Bowl in eight years. That's not a long time for most teams, but it seems like centuries because of the high standard set by Belichick, owner Robert Kraft and the talented roster they seem to have every year.

The lack of winning the big game is one thing, but what about the idea that Belichick is suppressing the true personalities of his players? We all know about Rob Gronkowski's interesting off-the-field antics. Not to mention what the Patriots organization has gone through in the past month regarding Alfonzo Dennard and, of course, former tight end Aaron Hernandez.

No matter what Belichick is forcing his players to say in news conferences, these guys have their own personalities that are going to show no matter how much he tries to censor them. The truth will always come out.

A few days ago, Belichick gave a news conference to break the silence from the Patriots regarding Hernandez's arrest. Instead of saying almost nothing and avoiding all issues like he normally does, Belichick actually spoke semi-candidly. And for this, he was heralded by reporters far and wide.

Maybe you'll agree with me and maybe you won't -- but I don't think Belichick deserves an ounce of praise. That being said, I don't think he deserves to be scrutinized or punished one bit because of his tight end's arrest. But speaking candidly to the media is something most coaches do quite frequently. Just because Belichick barely ever actually answers a question or shows an emotion whatsoever doesn't mean he should get a pat on the back the one time he does. When one of your players is charged with murder, any coach would have to do what he did. It's not a choice, it's a requirement.

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