Monday, November 24, 2014

How about Jonas, brothers?

Even if you don't watch NFL football, you probably know the visage, and maybe the name, of Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots.

You know, the guy stomping along the sidelines as a late Sunday game ends and you're waiting for "60 Minutes" to start tick tick ticking...and he's wearing the same ratty hoodie, the one that looks like he's going to patch the shingle on the roof as soon as the game is over.

He's not an enjoyable personality, not a happy-go-lucky fellow, but what he is, is a very successful coach.  And part of that is that he has rules, and they are to be followed, or this non-happy-go-lucky guy will be happy to tell you where to go.

Take running back Jonas Gray, a Notre Dame product who made the Patriots this year after kicking around with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins in 2012 and 2013. The Sunday before last, he became the first NFL running back since 1921 to score four rushing touchdowns in a game, when he had never scored at all before that game.  Gray and the Patriots beat the stupid Colts that day, he ran for those touchdowns and for a total of 201 yards, and he made the cover of last week's Sports Illustrated.*

Looking for the
hot dog guy
Four days later, last Friday, as his team had one of their final practices before playing the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Gray failed to show up on time, using the "my cellphone battery died so my alarm failed to wake me up" defense.  When he did finally stroll in to work that day, Belichick sent him home, and then when his team took the field against the Lions, Gray took a seat on the bench, and we hope he got a good view of the game from where he was, because he didn't play in that game any more than you or I did, and that's "not a bit" in my case.

Reporters asked later why Gray did not play, and coach Belichick gave one of his standard terse replies: "We do what we think is best. That's what we did today."

One assumes that Mr Gray stopped at Try 'N' Save on his way home to purchase three alarm clocks and a rooster.  And as a longtime punctuality fanatic, I applaud Bill Belichick.

Maybe that sort of discipline explains why his team wins so often!

*Gray is only the latest in a long line of victims of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

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