Bill Belichick, presumably in a good mood after winning the Super Bowl, showed his smiling self in last year’s NFL coaches picture at the annual owners’ meeting. But after losing the AFC Championship Game to Denver and a first-round draft pick to Roger Goodell’s Ahab-like pursuit of deflated footballs, Belichick opted to once again to skip the annual photo.
And the NFL’s individualistic coach no longer stands alone.
Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints, Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys, and Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs all appeared nowhere in this year’s photo. Reid offered the excuse of surgery. Payton and Garrett, not the least photogenic men pacing the sidelines, remain Belichickian in their non-responses regarding playing hooky. If you want to be like a non-conformist, observe and imitate.
The 28 coaches who smiled for the cameras included kangol-wearing Bruce Arians, Rex Ryan in fighting shape under a Buffalo Bills shirt, and Mike McCoy manspreading. No coach wore a tie. Tom Landry does not approve.
Atop no-showing the league consistently on this photo (more subtle than flashing a middle finger when the camera flashes) tradition, Belichick refuses to join the NFL Coaches Association, appears as “NE Coach” rather than by name in the Madden video games, and balks at participating in league-mandated gimmicks, such as last season’s “Salute to Service.”