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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Did Belichick Neutralize the Aaron Hernandez Situation?

"It’s a sad day, really a sad day on so many levels." -Bill Belichick


Bill Belichick approached the podium at Gillette Stadium yesterday not as a head coach but as a leader of men. People expected him to come out guarded and defensive. After all, he is notorious for terse answers and a chilly demeanor towards sports media. After the 2007 season, he was surly and obtuse while answering questions about Spygate. After Super Bowl and AFC Championship game losses, he skipped out on media obligations to NBC and CBS respectively.

However, these circumstances are unprecedented and this press conference dictated a different approach. Belichick was plain-spoken and honest, aware of the gravity of the situation. Will this be enough to satisfy the masses?



Bill Belichick took one for the team and removed some pressure from the players. The Patriots captains will be given an opportunity to comment on Thursday. After that, it's business as usual, and the only people who matter are the guys in the locker room.

In the locker room, Belichick can now create an "Us-vs-Them" motivation not seen since the 2007 season. He will undoubtedly tell the team something to the effect of: "No one respects you; they think you are weak and vulnerable."

Listening to fans and sports media, we hear the same common criticisms:
"Moving forward consists of what it’s always been here: to build a winning football team, be a strong pillar in the community, be a team that our fans can be proud of. That’s what we’re here for." -Bill Belichick


While Bill Belichick did an admirable job, the blowback from the Aaron Hernandez situation is far from over.

As long as the trial stays in the news, Hernandez will cast a shadow over the Patriots and the NFL season. However, Wednesday was a good first step towards distancing themselves from the Hernandez situation and getting back to building a playoff-caliber football team.

The Patriots will move forward.

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