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February 10, 2005
Patriots' Belichick Light-hearted During Tonight Show Appearance
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com

During the football season you’ll be hard- pressed to see much smiling from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

You’ll hear him say he never gets too excited over a victory because what his team did that week means nothing against the team they’re about to face.

Well, now that the Patriots are world champions he’s finally all smiles, and that was apparent during this appearance on the Tonight Show on Wednesday night.

Belichick and wide receiver Deion Branch were both guests on the popular NBC late night show, and were greeted by confetti along with plenty of cheers from the studio audience.

There were a variety of topics discussed, including how Belichick felt about each of the team’s three Super Bowl victories, and whether or not one ranked higher than another. The head coach compared it to having three children, saying each were special in their own way. However when asked again he said the first one was “great”, the second one was “great”, the third one was “outstanding”.

He was also asked by host Jay Leno about why he was on the wrong sideline at the beginning of the game. A lighthearted Belichick joked that he thought the Eagles “might have left their game plan on the bench.”

Belichick later explained that when the team came out during the pregame warm-ups, he had to run across the field to get to his team’s sideline. When they came out the second time for the introductions, the team apparently came out a different way and that caused the confusion.

Belichick simply laughed and said, “I blew it”.

He also said he found it strange that there were “a lot of Eagle guys standing there on our sideline.”

The normally subdued head coach also took an uncharacteristic shot at Eagles receiver Freddy Mitchell, who had made some negative comments toward Patriots safety Rodney Harrison that many New England players had also taken offense to.

Apparently Belichick had as well.

“He said he was bringing something for Rodney Harrison,” said Belichick of Mitchell. “I don’t know, maybe it was the two dropped passes.”

Belichick was also asked about coaching two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady. The coach said that Brady makes very few mistakes during games but that in practice Patriots’ defensive players Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, and Mike Vrabel “pick him off all the time.”

Branch’s interaction with Leno was limited, with Belichick receiving the majority of the questions. The wide receiver’s best moment came when he and Belichick were asked by Leno whether or not New England had a good chance at becoming three time champs. While Belichick wouldn’t comment much on the question, Leno then turned to Branch who laughed and said, “Yes sir I’m pretty sure that coach Belichick and his staff are going to go out there and [help us try to do it again].”

Although he was much looser than fans are accustomed to seeing, Leno still said at the end of the interview to Belichick that next time he’s going to “get you drunk first so then we can get the real answers.”

It was a great sight for fans who rarely get to see this side of the Patriots coach. After winning their third championship in four years, he’s certainly got plenty of reason to smile.


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