Great coaches hate losing. That much is understood. To watch Bill Belichick after a Pats loss. Priceless. The three-time Super Bowl winning New England coach redefines Grumpy Old Men. He should star in the NFL version. Scrooge was at his best following a 24-20 defeat at Carolina on Monday Night Football.
Anger personified and bitter even during a chilly postgame press conference, Belichick’s answers were the all too predictable 1-2 word sentences. So vanilla is he that you’d think it was the end of the world. Never mind that the Patriots are still 7-3 leading a weak AFC East by two games over Miami and the Jets.
Of course, the big topic was a flag that was picked up by NFL officials resulting in a Tom Brady interception on the game’s final play. Needing a touchdown, Brady threw for favorite target Rob Gronkowski. But the short throw was picked off by Panther safety Robert Lester. As the Panthers started to celebrate, there still was the issue of the controversial flag in the end zone. Did Luke Kuechly interfere with Gronkowski? He definitely face guarded him and easily could’ve been called. However, after discussing it they decided against it and the game was over.
Not without a furious protest from Brady, who had a few choice words for the chief referee as they walked off. Anyone who’s seen the former Super Bowl MVP knows how competitive he is. He’s fiery and wants every call. Doesn’t every quarterback in this fast becoming soft sport? Drew Brees got it during the Saints’ come from behind 23-20 home win over the 49ers. Anyone who watched knows it should’ve been a sack for Ahmad Brooks and San Francisco ball with 3:12 left. All star QBs do is complain and get their wish. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed tonight’s ending.
Did they get it right? Technically, no. Does it matter? Not anymore. Even Brady admitted as such which is more than Belichick will when he references not getting calls tonight and in Baltimore. How childish can you get? At least Brady pointed out that the Pats had plenty of chances earlier but didn’t take advantage. Instead, Carolina signal caller Cam Newton played the ultimate hero with a potential career defining game-winning drive. Trailing by three, he calmly led the Panthers down field, hooking up with Ted Ginn for a 25-yard TD reception with 59 seconds left.
Even with Carolina’s dangerous front four applying all kinds of pressure on Brady, he converted a fourth down and 10 to keep it alive. When he made two more completions all the way to the Carolina 18 with three seconds left, it got a little too close for comfort for the hosts. Then came one final Brady pass into the end zone that wound up short for an easy interception.
Then Flag Gate occurred leaving Belichick bitter. With Christmas around the corner, maybe Scrooge really does exist. He coaches a football team in Foxboro.