There is no team I'd rather see on HBO's "Hard Knocks" than the Patriots. At first, you would think that with Bill Belichick's dry personality and the team's secrecy, it'd be an extremely boring series.
Thursday night's premiere of "Bill Belichick: A Football Life" on NFL Network confirmed what I thought — that Belichick and the Patriots are an extremely fascinating focal point of a documentary, and Part One of the series was nothing short of sensational stuff.
Belichick is often emotionless and sarcastic in press conferences. Reporters are left grasping for straws, trying to find a question he will answer while balancing what the readers need to know, even though the media knows Belichick generally won't touch those questions.
That's why I was surprised to hear that Belichick agreed to be mic'ed up and have cameras follow him around for the entire 2009 season. But anyone who follows the Patriots knows that the football genius is more than he shows the public, and we got quite the glimpse on Thursday night.
"Shut the (expletive) up, Mason," Belichick yelled at Ravens WR Derrick Mason, who was jawing at the Pats' coach along the New England sideline during the teams' Week Four game in the ’09 season. That quote has gotten the most attention the day after the premiere because no one can picture Belichick getting into it like that with an opposing player.
From the emotions he displayed in his return to the Giants' locker room (his last visit to Meadowlands Stadium before it was torn down) to his relationship with his son, we got to learn a little more about Belichick the man, not the coach. You don't even get that kind of inside view of some of the outspoken, media-friendly coaches in the league.
One scene that really grabbed my attention (well, let's be honest, the entire show was great), was Belichick being upset with the players for not being excited enough about plays. You wouldn't expect Belichick to ask for more celebrating, he doesn't come off as that type of guy, but he explained that it made the Patriots intimidating and look like a winner.
The program lived up to its lofty expectations, and Part Two should allow us to gain even more insight into the mind of Belichick, as it will feature the infamous 4th-and-2 play that came up inches short and led to the Pats' 35-34 loss at Indianapolis in Week 10 of that season.