HOUSTON -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick spoke passionately Monday morning about the idea that quarterbackTom Bradymight have been fueled by vengeance this season in the wake of Deflategate.
"I think it's really inappropriate to suggest that, in Tom's career, that he's been anything other than a great teammate, a great worker and has given us every single ounce of effort, blood, sweat and tears that he has in him," Belichick said Monday morning at the traditional Super Bowl MVP/head coach news conference.
"To insinuate that this year is somehow different, that he competed harder or did anything to a higher degree than he ever has in the past, I think is insulting to the tremendous effort and leadership and competitiveness that he's shown for the 17 years I've coached him. It's been like [that] every year, every day, every week, every practice. Tom Brady gives us his best every time he steps on the field."
Belichick's remarks came as part of an answer to a question on whether analysts overlook Brady's pinpoint accuracy.
Short on sleep after a Super Bowl LI celebration that continued into the early hours of the morning, Belichick also shared how the team's 34-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons had special meaning for him because of family considerations.
All three of his children -- Stephen, Amanda and Brian -- were on the field after the game. Stephen concluded his fifth season on the coaching staff, while Brian finished his first year as a personnel assistant. Amanda is the women's lacrosse coach at Holy Cross.
"It was a tremendous feeling to put my arms around them and celebrate," he said, before mentioning his mother, Jeannette, and then his late father, Steve, who he said was probably watching "on the 50-yard line." Belichick also mentioned sharing the joy with his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, and her two daughters.
But true to form, Belichick showed that he's not about to stop adopting a forward-thinking laser focus.
"The NFL season, the calendar is what it is, so as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season," he said, drawing laughter from some reporters.
"Fortunately we have a great personnel staff. [Director of player personnel] Nick Caserio, [director of college scouting] Monti Ossenfort, [pro scouting director] Dave Ziegler, those guys do a great job. In a couple of weeks, we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred. And in a month, we're in free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players whose contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion, like every team in the league does.
"So now is not really the time to do that. If you don't do a good job with your football team in February, March and April, you're probably going to see that in November, December and January."
Belichick said the coaches will get their break in mid-to-late June into July.
"We have some catching up to do," he said. "But it's where we want to be."