FOXBORO - The media's getting blastedinto submissionthis week by Bill Belichick and the acorns that have dropped from his coaching tree. We told you earlier today about Belichick snarking about reporters providing him bad information in press conferences and then asking him to comment on it. (I refuse to name names as to who led him down the primrose path of inaccuracy). And here's Belichick buddy Nick Saban, the head coach at Alabama, getting exasperated about questions that distract from the Xs and Os of football. I almost forgot about this one until I saw it on The Deadspin. On Monday, Belichick lamented the fact the media's ruined the traditional postgame handshake with our nosy, intrusive, voyeuristic, judgmental, shallow insistence on paying attention to the interaction between the bosses of the two football teams who spent three hours locked in ... Gridiron. ... Combat. ..."Like a lot of things in football it's become something a lot different than what it really was intended to be or really is," Belichick said when asked about the postgame get-together, a conversation spurred by Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh getting sideways on Sunday. "I think there was a time when you could go out there and actually exchange some words with your competitor after the game like a lot of other players do you have a relationship with a guy or whatever and after the game you go up say something to him. Talk for a couple of seconds and then go into your locker room and that's it. You could easily go up and say something to the coach about the game if you lost, congratulate him or if he won to maybe talk about the way his team played or whatever. "Of course, now it's so heavily scrutinized by the media that it is an event bigger than the game itself which is so absurd," he continued. "Like a lot of things it takes any personalization out of the game and makes it a public topic for discussion. I think it's ridiculous that the media focuses on it the way it does. I'd like to think the reason the people are there is to see the game and see the competition, but we seem to want to talk about anything but the game. That's the media's job so that's what they do but it takes away from the things you would say as a coach."I get his perspective on this stuff. Nobody's postgame demeanor has been more heavily dissected than Belichick's whether it be with Eric Mangini, Bill Parcells, Tony Dungy. The topic sprouts legs, wings and a giant, bloodthirsty maw and it devours the next three days of conversation when something goes . . . sideways. Its overkill. It's embarrassing. But the desire from fans and the media to see unscripted, unrehearsed, raw exchanges - no matter how trivial - is a demonstration of how compelling this game is in America. And while it is low-hanging fruit on whichmorning news shows can let their vapid, pea-brained and blow-dried anchors opine before getting to video of an adorable lemur, it beats the alternative. Which is nobody giving a crap at all.
Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe.
The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.
“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”
Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.
Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.
“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”
Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.
Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.
Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children. He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.
Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.
Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004. He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.
The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993.
In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.
“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”