Editor’s note: A version of this post originally ran on January 17th. It is once again relevant today as Belichick dropped his first InstaFace of the season. This madness must end.
Bill Belichick went back to his favorite well. When asked about the video Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown streamed from a victorious locker room Sunday night, the Patriots coach again pretended not to know the name of a social media platform.
“As you know I’m not on Snap Face and all those,” he told WEEI. “I’m not too worried what they put on Instant Chat.”
Snap Face! Instant Chat! Hilarious. Those aren’t the real names!
Let’s pretend for a moment that the only way for Belichick to learn about the Brown video was to have it come across his personal feed. Let’s pretend the relaying of relevant information was banned at the Patriots’ team facility. Let’s pretend he doesn’t know the names of these platforms. Let’s pretend Belichick hasn’t seen the video and instead focus on what’s important.
And that’s how hard Belichick tries to make it seem like he doesn’t know about Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It’s obviously a deflection mechanism, and, sadly, is rewarded by people who somehow still find it charming and hilarious.
Belichick first introduced his ignorance of the social space in 2011, after the Patriots signed Chad Ochocinco.
"“I don’t Twitter, I don’t MyFace, I don’t Yearbook,” he said, “I don’t do any of those things, so I’d probably be the last to know.”"
After BroBible published a leaked Patriots scouting report for Johnny Manziel in May 2014, Belichick gave this answer:
"“Well, with all due respect, I hate to admit this, but I don’t think I’ve been online in a couple days or weeks or whatever, so that’s not really an important thing to me,” he said. “I don’t even know what’s online, and what isn’t online, but I would say we probably have — I can’t even imagine — 10,000 pages of information. That’s a lot of information. There’s no way I’d sit up here and tell you that I’ve read it all. I’ve read a fraction of it, but we have a ton of information on all the players that are in the draft. What’s online, you should go talk to the geniuses that are online. I don’t know. MyFace, YourFace, InstantFace, go talk to whoever you want that does that stuff. I don’t know.”"
In September 2015, Belichick let it slip that he does, in fact, know that Twitter is called Twitter, which was progress.
"“You should know that I don’t have a Twitter account,” he said. “I don’t have InstantFace. I don’t have any of that.”"
A month later, SnapFace was born.
Following Monday’s joke, Belichick is in dire danger of running out of social media mashup permutations. What’s he going to do the next time pretending not to know what’s happening on the internet will allow for a dodged question?
Admittedly, this isn’t the most important thing in the world nor is it worthy of much anger. But, at the same time, it should be pointed out that what Belichick is doing isn’t charming. It’s contrived and, at best, warmed-up content.
He can send the message that he’s above social media and all the trivial distractions it brings all he wants, but it’s not as if he’s always caught the things happening in the real world — before his very eyes — during his time in Foxboro.
Spygate, Deflategate and Aaron Hernandez come to mind. Or was it SpyFace, GateSpy and Dezgate? Never can remember.