It’s proof that the universe does in fact have a sense of humor when right as the US Women’s National Team is getting tsk-tsked for actually having fun dominating the World Cup in a Patriots-esque fashion, this Belichick clip on the importance of being hyped for your own success resurfaces:
My views on celebrations in sports.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) July 3, 2019
Thank you, BB! pic.twitter.com/GDln3cTMmA
As Ben points out, that clip’s from all the way back when Belichick filmed his episode of “A Football Life” back in the 2009 season, which is shortly after he came to the realization that he may or may not have served the 2007 team so much humble pie (his words, not mine) that the burden of perfection may or may not have finally broke them in the most important game of their lives. Throw in the ‘09 Pats losing some key seniority like Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, and Rodney Harrison, and a few bad vibes from dudes who will remain un-named, and you get Bill having to clarify “You worked to be the best, you better get amped when you succeed on the big stage!”
Anyway, all that to say it’s interesting that now the faces of Pats royalty seem to prefer to let their play do the talking. Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and especially Stephon Gilmore aren’t going to be mistaken for celebrating like the Legion of Boom anytime soon.
As he’s steadily become more of a BAMF at the second level, though, Kyle Van Noy has kind of become the exception, in a good way. Not only is he hype on the field, he spent all offseason telling every last Patriots critic on TV, and I quote, “Y’all can’t tell us nothing!”
He’s also a frequently hilarious interview, and NFL.com’s Logan Reardon caught up with him this week just in time for your long weekend with everything from Super Bowl plays to childhood football heroes to what actually went down when Bill Belichick shot him in the face.
(Hey, if you’ve played paintball, you know, those suckers hurt. I will never understand how people played in my hometown in the New England winter. In thermals. True story.)
Q: What players did you admire growing up?
KVN: I’ve admired a lot of different players. I like to pick something from each player. A big one for me was Derrick Brooks — I was a big Buccaneers fan growing up. I picked the [Bucs] because they had the pirate on their helmet. I enjoyed watching him. From him to admiring Tom [Brady], Adrian Peterson, Sean Taylor, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, DeMarcus Ware, there’s so many guys. That’s just naming a few. I’ve just admired their approach and how they played the game.
Q: Who is the toughest opponent to tackle?
KVN: I think everyone. I’m not going to give the opponents any credit. There’s a lot of guys, though. Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, there’s so many different young guys that are coming up that are really, really good. I know Saquon [Barkley] will be tough the way he runs. ... Alvin Kamara is another good one.
Q: What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
KVN: The next Super Bowl. Maybe if you asked me 15 to 20 years from now I could answer that, but I feel like the best ball for me is ahead.
The next one, eh? Wonder where Kyle got that one.
Q: Did you actually believe the Patriots could beat the Falcons when the score was 28-3 in Super Bowl LI?
KVN: Yeah, the whole time. You [as a fan] were probably devastated and shocked, saying the F-word a little bit. For us, we just knew that we didn’t play to our capability, and we knew that all we needed was one play to get us started. That was our mindset in the second half. In the locker room, there was really no big speech that set everyone off. We all looked at each other and said, “Let’s go to work, the right way.” That was our mindset, just one play at a time in the game. We kept that mentality and it just snowballed and snowballed, and you couldn’t stop it once we got going. A lot of people don’t [realize it], but the defense only gave up 21 points in that game. That’s really good [going against] a team as high-powered as they were playing the entire season. We knew that we had a really good defense and we just needed to keep at it.
Q: How do Patriots players — like you, Julian Edelman, etc. — seem to rise on the biggest stage?
I think it goes back to training and mindsets. To be at your best when your best is asked — that’s my mindset. I always want to be the best and I strive to be the best. I feel like I’ve been like that since I was little. I always wanted that big moment -- the last shot if it was tied, hit a home run to win the game, catch a touchdown to go ahead or make a big play on defense. That’s just been my mindset since I’ve played sports and that’ll never change. It’s awesome because your teammates can look at you and know that you’re ready for the moment, the moment’s not too big for you.
Q: How much fun was your personal media tour after this year’s Super Bowl?
It was fun. It really was. I felt like I was representing not only myself, but Patriot fans and my teammates in general. I got to smile. ... I feel like I wasn’t cocky about it, it was more about having fun and enjoying the moment. That’s what our team does, we enjoy the moment. I just got in the position to be able to speak on the national level. I just tried to enjoy it because we try to tell everyone that we have fun [in New England], too.
Q: Are Patriots players encouraged to embrace other Boston sports teams or is that just something you all do?
It’s just a testament to the teams. We like to go out and support each other because we like when they support us. That’s how we view it. We want their support in big games just like I know they like it when we support them. It’s kind of a Boston thing. I don’t know what it’s like in other places, but for us, we all enjoy cheering each other on. We want them to do the best because there’s nothing like winning.
Q: Have you ever considered trying the TB12 method?
No, I’m good. I like food too much.
Q: Do you feel a sense of pride/urgency as a Patriots linebacker — succeeding players like Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Jerod Mayo, etc. — to uphold the recent tradition?
They set the standard. They call it the “Backer-hood.” We’re just trying to continue the legacy. It’s an amazing and big blessing to be able to play for Bill Belichick and his defense. It dates back to even the guys like Lawrence Taylor, and they probably feel connected even though it was for a different team. They went through it under Bill, so they understand. I think it dates back to that, just upholding the legacy under Bill. His standard is really high and you always need to be turned on to be on that standard. It’s not easy, that’s for sure, and some days are better than others, but it’s rewarding.
Q: What has Jerod Mayo been like as a rookie coach so far?
He’s amazing. He’s got a bright future, he’s really smart. He’s also played the game, so he has that feel for it. I expect him to have a bright future because he’s really, really good at what he does. He’s a good teacher already.
Q: Thoughts on Patriots linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, who showed promise as a rookie last season before a season-ending injury in Week 3?
He’s got a lot of potential. He’s really good. He’s smart. He’s crafty. He does all those little things you want as a middle linebacker. He sets the tone. He’s not afraid to communicate and he does a really good job [within] his role. His role will get bigger the more and more he plays, and a lot of people will be happy he’s a Patriot, that’s for sure.
Q: Any plans to get revenge on Belichick for the paintball incident from a few weeks ago?
I’ll get my revenge. It’ll be during fall camp somehow. I’ll have to plan something good. He probably doesn’t even know he shot me. It was good, but I’ll get him back, though. He just doesn’t know when it will come.
12 questions, huh, interesting choice. Does anyone important we know wear #12? Coincidence? You decide.