As football fans would have observed today, the NFL head coaches have been dressed in “Salute to Service” gear, including jackets and hats. That is, except for Bill Belichick on Sunday Night Football. If you have been paying attention for the last several years, it should not come as a surprise. It is something that Belichick has not participated in for years (but he has worn a camouflage pin in the past).
As the photo shows, he is surrounded by his assistants wearing the gear tonight while wearing traditional Patriots’ gear:
NFL.com states: “Between November 1 and November 19th, every use of #SaluteToService on Twitter will generate a $5 donation, up to $5 million, to the NFL’s military non-profit partners – including the Pat Tillman Foundation, TAPS, USO, Wounded Warrior Project and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. On Veteran’s Day this donation will be increased to $25. Since 2011, more than $26 million has been raised through Salute to Service to fund programs and provide resources that positively impact veterans, service members and their families.”
“He takes time on Veterans Day or other times through the season to address the full team about what the holiday means, or why the national anthem is played before games or bring in others to speak about the importance of military service. It isn’t just about honoring, it’s about teaching the generally young men in his charge about what he believes is important.”
Further, Belichick’s dad was a coach at the Naval Academy and he is very well-versed in military history. As Jason Lisk wrote in 2015:
What we don’t know is his particular motivation in this case. I think it’s fair to look at the NFL’s Salute to Service campaign with a fair amount of skepticism as a PR move. Just a few weeks ago, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake released their report about the “Pay for Patriotism” going on between the Defense Department and professional sports teams. Plenty have written about how patriotism shouldn’t be a marketing gimmick.
Belichick, as far as we have been able to discover, has not publicly addressed why he chooses not to participate when other coaches dress in the Salute to Service apparel.
The Patriots are wearing decals honoring 25 fallen soldiers tonight as part of the program.