A bit of cozy, impromptu interview stole viewers’ hearts on NFL Network Sunday when New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick visited Mike Mayock and Rich Eisen in the booth during the combine telecast and Belichick was connected via headset with former player Willie McGinest.
Belichick told McGinest that he had not been in a press box since 1996, when he was the Patriots‘ defensive backs coach.
“You know, Willie, one of my best memories is right here on this field when you made that short-yardage stop down there against the Colts (back in 2003),” Belichick said. “And then the next year, we opened with them, and you made the sack that took Mike Vanderjagt out of field-goal range. And I think that’s where (Mike) Vrabel got them on the fake timeout, too, and then they changed the rule on that. But anyway, you got the Colts back to back, two years in a row — here and in Foxborough.”
McGinest said he was a hated figure in Indianapolis and that he could not tell those stories or else his stay as a combine analyst would be significantly less comfortable.
“Trust me, Willie, when I came to Indianapolis, they threw stuff at me, yelled at me and everything else. Then when I went for it on fourth-and-2 (in a Nov. 2009 regular-season matchup) and we got stopped, ever since then it’s been ‘Hey Coach, good to see you. How is it going?'”
Every now and then Belichick, in the eyes of fans from 31 other teams, reaches peak evil and then does something to warm the collective hearts of everyone.
Belichick and McGinest likely went on to share a root beer float at Steak ‘n Shake.