I had the good fortune recently to welcome some out of town guests at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport. Actually, the good fortune didn't happen while bringing them in, it was when I finally got to ship them back out, the fun began. The MSP airport has two terminals. Lindbergh is the hopping place with most of the major airlines running through it, and Humphrey which has Southwest Airlines, Icelandair, AirTran, and a few others; it is as sparcely populated as an all-day yodeling concert. Of course, my guests tickets were on AirTran, so Humphrey it was.
As I bid them a fond fairwell, I spied this frumpy looking guy wearing headphones in a cutoff hoodie, and I thought he looked a lot like Belichick. Of course, it had to be a case of mistaken identitiy; I'm more likely to run into Adrian Peterson or Jared Allen up this way. As I got closer, though, the sound of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" coming from the headphones was as unmistakable as Bill's singing the lyrics to the song. It was at this point that I was relieved to realize that his restraining order against me isn't valid outside of Massachusetts and parts of New England. I had him.
I nonchalantly walked up next to Belichick and said, "How's it going coach?" His jaw dropped upon hearing my voice, and he said, "Oh, God, not you again. Still sporting the Welker jersey, huh?" I responded, "Yeah, no thanks to you. Letting Wes walk was kind of like ripping out a piece of my heart." "Um, you're not here to hurt me, are you?", Bill (he likes me to call him Bill) says as he looks for the nearest officer from the moving walkway we are sharing. I replied, "Perish the thought, Bill, I'm reasonable. Tell you what, you give me a little five minute Q & A for a little blog I sometimes help with, and I'll disappear into the night." Bill says, "It's daylight." I reply, "It's the thought that counts." Belichick gets his crafty look upon his face knowing full well that he can speak for five minutes without ever saying anything, "Ok, that sounds fair. Just don't call me Bill." (I thought he always liked me to call him Bill.)
After a moment's delay, Belichick said, "What blog would let you write for them, anyway?" Without batting an eye, I said, "Sports Illustrated." Bill mumbled a few curse words and I thought I heard the name Peter King, but I can't be sure. As we reached the end of the traveling walkway, I escorted the Hooded One to a semi-secluded row of seats to begin our interview:
SMP: So, Bill, the Butt-fumble is the funniest play you've ever seen in your life, isn't it?
Hoodie: First of all, quit calling me Bill. Second, this isn't really a question so much as a statement. It was a good defensive play that we were able to take advantage of. Wilfork got some push up in there.
SMP: Sanchez got some push, too.
Hoodie: Well, yeah, I mean... You could say that.
SMP: What brings you up here to Minnesota.
Hoodie (points out the window): That plane out there.
SMP: Yeah. On a scale of one to ten, and keeping in mind I'm wearing a Welker jersey and am a huge fan, how much did you want to keep Wes Welker this off-season?
Hoodie: Wes has always done a good job for us. He's done everything we've ever asked of him...
SMP (clenching fist): So you're saying it was a three?
SMP: Great answer. Nice and concise. Ok, on the same scale, where is Danny Amendola?
SMP (points up):
Hoodie: How about an eightish?
SMP: Sounds good. Look, I know you're loathe to discuss team plans and all, so I'll try to steer clear of touchy subjects. Just let me know if I cross any boundaries, ok?
Hoodie: That's fine. Are we done?
SMP: Not by a long shot. Hey, are you planning on drafting any wide receivers this year?
Hoodie: We'll have to look in the draft to see where the value is....
SMP: That's the signal isn't it?
Hoodie: What signal?
SMP: The signal that I found a touchy subject.
Hoodie: Actually, yes. Yes it is.
SMP: Your Dad, Steve, was a coach for the Navy wasn't he?
Hoodie: Yes he was, and don't call him Steve.
SMP: Alrighty then. My grandfather was a contractor, and when I do construction work, I feel closer to him. My father was a mechanic, and when I work on my car, I feel closer to him.
Hoodie: I hire all of that done.
SMP: Yeah, well, la ti freaking da! My point is, do you feel closer to your Dad when you are coaching? Things he used to say, do they come back to you?
Hoodie: You know, really, they do. All the time we spent together watching film, breaking it down. It's like he's still right there in the room with me sometimes.
SMP: What did he used to say to you the most?
Hoodie: Give me the damn remote, and quit sitting in my chair!
SMP: That's sort of beautiful. You've got your own chair and remote now though, right?
Hoodie: Bet your ass I do.
SMP: Do you mind if I change that to butt in the article?
Hoodie: I like ass.
SMP: Me too, me too. Best quote ever!
SMP: Nevermind. So basically, this off-season is going to be filling in some holes, drafting BPA, best player available, then grabbing some undrafteds and veterans to get to your camp 90 like pretty much every year.
Hoodie: Is there a problem with that?
SMP: No it seems to work. It's just not very exciting.
Hoodie: Look you said your Dad was a mechanic.
Hoodie: Look at the Indianapolis 500; five hundred mile long race that really only gets pretty intense in the last few laps. When the mechanic is spending nights tightening bolts, and checking the engine, it's not very exciting, but it's important in making it to those last few laps.
SMP: Your point?
Hoodie: We're just buying the bolts now. We're not even tightening them up. Some will break. Some won't fit. Some, like Vollmer, might be metric. We're a month away from knowing anything about that. We're just trying to grab the best assortment that we think gives us the best chance to win.
SMP: That's deep. Don't you have to buy nuts, too.
Hoodie: I've found that every bag of bolts comes with a few nuts. I wonder if that officer over there has the time....
SMP (ducking behind a pillar): Well, Bill, thanks for the chat. I've gotta run.
Hoodie: Don't call me Bill!