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FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on after defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Drew Magary writes sports commentary for Deadspin, Maxim, GQ and is the author of "The Postmortal."
If you know anything about Patriots coach Bill Belichick, it's that he's a dour, humorless, cold-blooded coachbot who will strike you dead with his fury whip if you dare ask him about in-game strategies or his personal feelings about anything.
But underneath all of that gruff exterior lies something resembling a human being. In fact, just this week, Belichick offered definitive proof that he is an animate object by smiling and making an actual joke:
The early results suggest Patriots coach Bill Belichick is enjoying this trip to Indianapolis more than any other...
“I never had too much hospitality here, until I went for it on fourth-and-2,” Belichick explained. “Since then, I’ve been greeted in a lot more friendly manner than I ever was in the past.”
That joke -- Belichick was referencing a famed poor decision that cost the Patriots a game against the Colts in 2009 -- represents a breakthrough of sorts for Belichick. He's described in that NFL.com post as "nearly endearing," which is the warmest thing anyone has ever said about him. With that precious moment in mind, I thought I'd go back and take a look at the greatest Belichick moments of all time. I'm not talking about on-field stuff here. We all know his accomplishments there. I'm talking about the most memorable moments of Belichick the MAN. Or, at least, Belichick the partial man.
1. Belichick resigns from the Jets. Still the greatest Belichick moment ever. Not only was he abrupt in the press conference, but he also was abrupt in his formal resignation letter, which I believe was scribbled on the back of a matchbook. He didn't even spell out "head coach," he was so quick to leave.
2. Belichick destroys Freddie Mitchell. Belichick is usually never one to give opponents motivation. But when your opponent is Freddie Mitchell, you can say stuff like this: "All he does is talk. He's terrible, and you can print that. I was happy when he was in the game." What's FredEx gonna do about it? He really was terrible. This is the truest thing anyone has ever said about anything.
3. His honesty after winning his first Super Bowl. From the late David Halberstam's "Education of a Coach": "Can you believe we won the Super bowl against the Rams with this team?" Translation: "Oh man, they were a LOT better than us."
4. Singing "Wanted Dead Or Alive" with Bon Jovi. With Charlie Weis along for the ride! So, so awkward.
5. Joking with Wes Welker about Wally Pipp. Julian Edelman did an effective job in relief of Welker once, and so Belichick went up to him and was like, "Remember Wally Pipp?" And Welker was like, "No." And Belichick was like, "Uh, well, you're like Wally Pipp, if you knew who that was." HILARIOUS! (Pipp, of course, was the Yankees first basemen who was relieved by Lou Gehrig in 1925 -- and never played first base for the Yankees again.)
Here's hoping this man coaches another decade, and gives us at least five more bizarre, vaguely human moments such as these.