FRANKFURT, Germany — Bill Belichick sauntered right into a packed press convention Friday on little sleep, with dozens of keen reporters unfold over six rows of chairs and shut to twenty cameras armed and prepared on the again.
The Patriots had landed hours earlier on a redeye from the U.S. Belichick took his seat behind a microphone on a small stage and stared down at a reporter within the first row. He was puzzled.
“Pretzels for lunch?” Belichick requested. “Seriously?”
Then, he beamed. He joked. He laughed.
Belichick fielded questions and provided considerate solutions for almost 20 minutes, even when these solutions meandered to the identical lifeless ends they often do. At the top, he even apologized for a lackluster response.
Twice! Belichick smiled once more. And he wasn’t alone.
After their follow Friday on the DFB campus, residence to the German National Soccer Team, six Patriots gamers spoke in the identical media room that briefly housed an unusually unfastened Belichick. Maybe they have been all punch-drunk drained from the flight. Or Belichick’s German pleasure was contagious.
Judge for your self.
After follow, a joking Ezekiel Elliott dropped behind the identical microphone. What off-field worth did he see on this journey?
“It’s a chance to be able to spend a little more time together at night, and for the guys to get some beers together,” he cracked.
Fifteen minutes later, Mac Jones listened to a reporter fumble a query, subbing the phrase “balding” for “bonding” whereas asking about workforce camaraderie. The famously robotic Jones burst into laughter and chortled with reporters for 10 seconds. At the top, he admitted he’d misplaced his practice of thought.
“Sorry, what was your question?” he requested.
After that, Jones mentioned the Patriots have been going to placed on “a good show,” a uncommon declaration from the face of the franchise. Finally, it was previous man Matthew Slater’s flip.
He, too, smiled and clutched a German National Team jersey in his proper hand as he took a seat. Asked in regards to the jersey, Slater revealed it was a prize for successful a sports activities trivia contest arrange by an area German media outlet. Slater joked, too; a number of occasions in actual fact.
About the jersey, taking part in in Europe and a number of occasions in regards to the toll soccer and time have taken on his 38-year-old legs. And what?
Good for him. Good for them.
Bill Belichick addresses ‘personal’ Patriots participant absences from Germany journey
The Patriots ought to embrace pleasure overseas amid an more and more depressing 2-7 season, an oasis of brats and beer on this desert of defeat. Who is aware of what occurs Sunday. For now, who cares?
The season is misplaced. Oddsmakers have solely fortified the Colts’ place as favorites this weekend, widening the unfold from a 1-point distinction to a 2.5-point hole as just lately as Friday. They may win by 15 or 20.
But they cannot contact what occurred Friday, a 48-hour window opened that gamers ought to cherish for the remainder of their lives.
The Patriots will kick off the third NFL sport ever performed in Germany. They will develop the sport in a approach that’s unimaginable with out dropping it in proper entrance of somebody, the entire visceral sights and sounds, collisions and violence and spectacular exhibits of athleticism. Sunday will mark a second, an actual second, in franchise historical past.
Slater was born into soccer, the son of Hall of Fame offensive deal with Jackie Slater, however confessed he by no means may have conceived the game’s energy reaching locations like Frankfurt.
“I think back to my dad’s playing career, and not for one minute, did I ever think that a team would fly to Europe and play games or fly to Mexico and play games during the regular season. It’s been remarkable to see the growth of our game and to gain support internationally,” Slater mentioned. “It really is a beautiful thing.”
A phenomenal factor. Amen.
It beats the hell out of “business trip,” the trite cliche gamers usually use to stamp out the importance or particular nature of those video games. As if any outsider believes 53 gamers and a dozen or so coaches ever select to trip collectively and journey with full gear only for kicks.
Of course it is a enterprise journey. But that does not imply it should be all enterprise. There isn’t any promise of a return to Germany for any of those gamers. More than half, it might be argued, won’t be Patriots subsequent 12 months.
Not even Belichick is assured subsequent season. But he’s assured a sport Sunday, and all the enjoyment the encompassing Frankfurt expertise can carry if he and the Patriots select to embrace it. If they take their very own recommendation.
“We’ve got to be where our feet are,” Jones mentioned.
At least for sooner or later, it appears they’re.