Imagining Belichick's what-ifs
Ask anyone and Bill Belichick will be on their list of top NFL head coaches. As he should be.
But things have been better for the once-genius. He hasn't won a Super Bowl in almost five years. Since then he has been eliminated from the playoffs by Jake Plummer, blown a 21-3 lead in the AFC Championship Game to the Colts, been completely outcoached by Tom Coughlin in the Super Bowl and missed the playoffs.
And now he's got a star-studded team that currently looks like it might be fortunate to go 8-8.
Maybe Belichick is actually closer to being the guy who crapped out as head coach of the Browns in the mid-90s than he is to being some all-knowing, all-powerful football genius.
What if he hadn't gotten another NFL coaching job when his tenure with the Browns ended after the 1995 season? Plenty of coaches who put up just one winning season in five years never get the call again. It's not an absurd notion.
Where would Bill Belichick's life had led? It's an interesting question. And one with many possible answers.
Remember, it's 1996. The economy is humming, and dot-com riches are there for the taking. Bill Belichick is fresh off five years of earning an NFL head coach's salary. So he has some cash in hand. And he has an economics degree from Wesleyan University. Some guy named Mark Cuban is still three years away from selling Broadcast.com for $6 billion. Six billion! Broadcast.com. I remember Broadcast.com. It wasn't that great. There is more money to be had for better ideas.
Bill Belichick has a better idea.
He launches MOMdateDepot.net -- then the first Internet dating site to connect hot suburban housewives with the cranky men who want to love them right. Belichick's TV ads -- in which he mumbles: "I'm not only the founder, I'm a client" -- are a phenomenon.
Six billion? Ha! Belichick sells MOMdateDepot for $60 billion. He buys the NFL. Then he shuts it down.
Because he can.
NFL executive Roger Goodell, who would one day fine him $500,000 in an alternate life, works as his pool boy.
"Fetch me my flip-flops, Red. Don't make me suspend you without pay again."
ETERNAL FRAT BOY
Out of a job? Down on your luck? Your old frat will always take you back. And Belichick is a proud Chi Psi from Wesleyan. So once he left Cleveland he pointed his car in the direction of Middletown, Conn., and the Chi Psi house.
There he instantly becomes the most popular brother. He can buy beer for everyone. He wires every room in the house with hidden cameras so his fellow brothers can have video records of their conquests. And he uses his football acumen to coach the Chi Psi flag football team to back-to-back-to-back intramural championships.
Best of all, he's allowed to live at the house for free, and during pledge week he can re-visit his favorite part of being a football coach: cutting people. Oh, and access to mothers on the weekends.
Unfortunately for Belichick, it's all too good to last. A disgruntled brother by the name of Derek Namgini leaves Chi Psi and rats out Belichick to the dean. Wesleyan shuts down Chi Psi.
The frat-boy days are officially over. Belichick is homeless again. Only now he's homeless and stuck in Middletown, Conn. The horror!
Okay, so not much of a stretch. He doesn't have a job. He's partial to the disheveled hoodie look. He doesn't seem as though he likes people or society much now. This would probably actually be his preferred life course. Heck, for all we know, he's willingly homeless now. Have you ever seen a picture of his house? I haven't. Moving along.
Gross. But it could have happened. Oh boy, it could have happened. It's the oldest profession in the world -- and one common to those who are desperate for a job. Plus, he has "chick" right there in his name. Marketing gold.
Belichick loves him some Jovi. And, believe it or not, Bon Jovi has remained popular from 1996 to this day.
He wasn't the Bill Belichick of today back in 1996. But he had at least some name recognition, I suppose. And corporations love paying big money to have ex-jocks and football coaches speak at their events. Only Belichick never played in the NFL. And he was the failed head coach of the Browns. And he speaks in a monotone. Using short declarative sentences empty of any detail. He is perhaps the most uninteresting man in the world.
Go back three spaces to homeless.
You may laugh, but what is the Snuggie other than Belichick's sleeveless hoodie in different colors?
Faced with a job loss in their mid-40s, many men will attempt to do something completely different with their lives. Belichick may have done the same. And what's more different from being an NFL head coach than getting in touch with nature as the owner of a tree farm? Bill Belichick's Coaching Trees, he'd call it.
And sadly, they would all die.
Bill Belichick only used cameras to spy on opponents for a very brief period with the Patriots. Sure. Chances are he was doing it back in Cleveland, too. I mean, in five years with the Browns he had one winning season. A winning season in Cleveland. He had to be cheating, right?
So with his football career at a dead end, Belichick decides to see what his spying techniques can do on the world stage. Plying his father's contacts with the Navy -- Steve Belichick was a longtime Navy assistant coach and scout -- Belichick gets his foot in the door at the Department of Defense.
Belichick's program immediately shows impressive results. Heck, it shut down the high-powered 2001 Rams; imagine what it could do to the crumbling post-Cold War Russians. Or the French. Or Canada (if we cared).
The former coach's methods cause him to quickly ascend the ranks of the CIA. He finds that espionage and the art of deceit is his true calling, even more so than football. (Not a surprise.) His programs prevent attacks. They provide reliable intelligence -- intelligence that prevents the Iraq War. He saves lives.
Bill Belichick becomes a national hero.
But the power goes to his head. He craves ultimate power, not just some cushy CIA job or a spot in the president's inner circle. He orchestrates a coup using inside information he gained on top administration officials, including the president, gained from a secret surveillance system he had in place since his first government contract in 1996.
A mad genius.
After he storms the Oval Office -- using Charlie Weis as a battering ram -- Belichick strides to the president's desk and shoves him a piece of paper that reads simply: "I am taking over as HC of USA."
Belichick rules over the country -- now called Belichickia -- with an iron fist. Some of you want free health care? Ha! In Belichickia, if you even report an injury or illness you are immediately cut from the citizen rolls and sent to Mexico. He also begins trying to breed a "super race" using a handsome former scrub Michigan quarterback and a Brazilian supermodel. The White House press corps -- briefly renamed the Gray House press corps to reflect the new color scheme -- is exterminated. All that comes out of government headquarters, now in New Jersey, is blatant propaganda and lies.
Everything is gray. Everything is cold. Sweatshirt weather 365 days a year.
On the bright side, Emperor Belichick demands football gets a spot in the Olympics.
So at least we'll clean up there.
DJ Gallo is the founder of and sole writer for the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.