A Belichick-ism that we’ve all long since accepted as fact for years, maybe even decades now, is this: the more situations a team is able to master, the more likely they are to win. It’s just common sense to us now, in the same way “don’t cook bacon with no shirt on” and “liquor before beer” are obvious. Have a plan, execute the plan, do your job, just take care of your assignment, know what it is, get it taken care of, and you’ll be champions again tonight, and all that.
Speaking of assignments, the modern-day NFL tight end presents a classic matchup problem, right? The state of the position ranges from borderline full-time blockers to slightly-more-jacked slot receivers to...well, Gronk and Ertz and Kittle and all of them that are equally elite in all aspects of the job. So how does one defend, um, that?
In the 2020 offseason, Bill Belichick had an idea, as he often does; acquire the guy who has proven time and time again that he can lock ‘em down. Or, in this case, re-acquire that guy.
That’s what happened this offseason with former Patriots trade acquisition Aqib Talib, who was *this* close to a reunion with New England for the specific purpose of ruining opposing tight ends’ Sunday afternoons, according to....Aqib Talib.
In his announcement detailing his retirement at 34 years old on Wednesday, Aqib dropped the story about how this almost came to be:
Much love to everybody who played a part in my career. Sorry I couldn’t join you in New England Bill! You’re welcome to come on the show! — AqibTalib21 (@AqibTalib21) September 9, 2020
Get the full details with the link in my bio and follow @calltothebooth for more. pic.twitter.com/cuUuQVkzQm
As always, here’s the transcript for those of you who are at work or in class and/or experienced the nightmare scenario of forgetting your headphones today:
“Aqib Talib is officially retired, I’m bringing my talents to the booth!”
“Football gave me so much, in life, I’m addicted to it now, Harrison, I can’t get away from the game, that’s why I’m in the booth now, baby, so....”
“I told myself personally, like, I need to play one more year. So, as long as somebody gives me a nice check, of course I’m coming. Or, if somebody gave me a nice-ass role....my guy, my big homie, Bill Belichick, called my phone, Harrison...”
“Called my phone, man, told me he had the role of a lifetime for me. So he really wanted me to come in and strap tight ends. I was halfway out the door, I got flights, I start finding apartments. I could have got up to five and a half, six million dollars, nice vet contract. I could make six million dollars and guard tight ends all day, I’m like, I’m cool! So, I kinda start going through that schedule. I kinda seen Kittles, Kelce, Waller....so usually, when I get in this position, when I’m going to a new team, my thoughts are all positive, like, ‘ok, this guy’s here, maybe if he did this, maybe I could do this, maybe I could get this many interceptions, go to the Pro Bowl, these guys are in the NFC, so I have to beat out him and him’. Like, you know, I kind of run down all positive thoughts. But, this time, Harrison....”
“I looked at this f*cking schedule, and the thought, quotation marks, I said ‘can I even strap these damn tight ends’? I said, oh sh*t, it’s over with. Once I said that, once that negative thought crossed my mind, I was like, man, my heart, my competitive edge, like, I ain’t really in it like that no more. You know what I’m saying? So, let alone once you get 34, you lose a step, you ain’t moving the same way you used to move. So, I just wasn’t feeling it no more, honestly, man. It’s just, you gotta play this game with heart, Harrison, you gotta play this game with heart. If you don’t play it with heart, that’s how you get real injuries, concussions and bad injuries, when you out here playing nervous and things like that.”
Assuming all this is correct, the logical guess would be that this conversation took place somewhere in between the start of free agency (March 18th, 2020) and the 2020 NFL Draft (April 25th, 2020), simply because that’d place it in between Aqib becoming a free agent and both New England drafting safety Kyle Dugger in the second round and stalwart strong safety Patrick Chung’s eventual opt-out due to COVID-19.
Either way, at minimum, this trailer is a fun look into how Belichick approaches every situation in the game that he’s studied for his whole life under the premise that there HAS to be a solution, and it’s also a really fun look at what Aqib can bring to the booth in the coming years.
Aqib/Romo 2021, anyone?? Eh? Eh???
(.....drop your Steve Smith ICE UP jokes in the comments if you got ‘em)