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Film Review: Bill Belichick rejects a bro-hug from Tom Brady

Let’s actually look at what happened.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

So there’s a gif floating around the interwebs showing how Bill Belichick rejected a bro-hug from Tom Brady in the locker room after the New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets.

Good friend Henry McKenna was the first to point it out and the new “Tom Brady just wants a high five” was born- and when you look at how Bill Belichick gave everyone else in the locker room a hug, the lack of one for Brady is pretty apparent.

(I will also say that I received an e-mail asking if Belichick not giving Malcolm Butler a hug suggests that the two are still mad at each other about the contract situation this offseason.)

But when you go back to the tape, you’ll see that Brady is avoiding the bro-hug with everyone, instead favoring the shoulder dip. I propose that it’s Brady that didn’t want the hug in the first place.

He shoulder-dips Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan while keeping his non-throwing shoulder out of the picture. Running backs coach Ivan Fears goes in for the hug and Brady flounders like he’s trying to get away from a hug that lasts a little too long from an aunt at a holiday party. Look at Brady’s hand flapping away on Fears’ shoulder. That’s the sign of someone saying, “okayokayokayokay.”

But those are three interactions and three times where Brady didn’t want his injured shoulder to bump with another person.

And then there’s the moment with Belichick. Brady leans in for the shoulder dip, the two do a slick handshake, with Belichick bringing in his second hand to solidify the interaction, and the two move away. It’s all intentional.

You don’t think for a second that Belichick hadn’t already thought about unnecessarily contacting Brady’s injured shoulder, right? Belichick’s the type to have a notebook full of ways to engage with players depending on their injuries. Three ways to high-five someone with a injured fourth digit. How to hug someone with a bruised right clavicle in three easy steps.

It’s what robots do. It’s not Belichick rejecting Brady. It’s the most Belichick and Brady interaction you can find. It’s simply the optimal interaction given the circumstances.