INDIANAPOLIS -- Did Bill Belichick ever imagine himself standing before a room full of reporters, discussing his hunt for the Super Bowl?
Never for a second," he smiled.
At first it's almost hard to believe. Belichick is one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- coaching minds of this generation. To think he never daydreamed as a child of lifting the Lombardi Trophy, well, it sounds like little more than false modesty.
But consider what you see and hear about Bill Belichick: he's methodical, he's consistent, he lauds discipline. Under those terms, it's not so crazy to think he was always too focused on the present to fantasize about the future.
"Id say, wherever I was, I was consumed," Belichick said Sunday night. "Whether I was working for Ted Marchibroda, breaking down film getting ready for the playoff game with the Steelers in 1975, in Detroit coaching the tight ends for coach (Rick) Forzano and coach (Tommy) Hudspeth in 1976-77, Denver in 1978 getting ready for the playoffs out there, with Pittsburgh in 1979, coming to the Giants with coach (Ray) Perkins, coaching the special teams.
"I loved coaching special teams for Ray Perkins. It was a great job. It was awesome. Then Bill (Parcells) came in, and he was the defensive coordinator in 1981, and I had the opportunity to work with the linebackers and still coach special teams. When Bill took over, I was basically the defensive coordinator as a job description and a title a couple of years later."
Here, we have to hit pause. Belichick's 12 years coaching in New York is a subject of interest this week.
The Giants are the last obstacle between Belichick and his sixth Super Bowl ring. They also wear the name that won him his first two. Belichick reminisced about those years famously in the NFL Films documentary "A Football Life." The coach's candor was eye-opening. One almost felt voyeuristic, especially when -- inconceivably -- Belichick was moved to tears.
He had been retracing old steps through the halls of Giants Stadium.
"I loved that job. I loved coaching the Giants defense. Being in New York, being a part of that great organization and those great players I had the opportunity to coach. In all honesty, I wasnt thinking then about if this was what I was going to do at some other point. We were trying to win there. We won in 1986, and it was a great year. We rebuilt the team, and we won again. I was consumed with that. I really just try to live in the moment, whatever that is."
Makes sense now, doesn't it? Belichick denying the idea he dreamed of Super Bowl titles doesn't signal a lack of ambition; his focus was so total it made him shortsighted.
"Right now, its here, and Im happy to be here, believe me. Theres no place Id rather be. Other points in time, I was dealing with other challenges, other teams and other situations. I tried to do the best I could in those situations with whatever responsibilities I had. I never really thought too much about where it was going to go."
This is the week he obsesses about Lombardi. He'll stalk his quarry with the same pointed focus he had in Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, Cleveland and New York. The love he has for those old Giants serves for a swell story, but has nothing to do with this moment -- the here and now.
Another Super Bowl for the Patriots.