Former Patriots executive Scott Pioli made some headlines over the weekend when he said he felt a Bill Belichick-Cam Newton partnership wasn't feasible. In an interview with Zach Gelb on CBS Radio, Pioli said the gap between the two's views on how football should be played is too wide to bridge. His full thoughts:
With Cam Newton, the Patriots thing is interesting because I've heard a lot of people talk about that. In my mind, having spent as much time with Bill as I did, I don't see those two coexisting together. The personalities and beliefs of how the game should be played and is played, it seems like oil and water.
I just see them as being very different personalities and having very different approaches to the game. Bill believes in football more than entertainment. Cam believes that football and entertainment are almost equal partners. And in this day and age, it is, but Bill has the soul of a football man. I couldn't see that one working out too well. And if I did, it would probably have to be for one season.- Scott Pioli via CBS Sports
But Belichick's track record doesn't indicate a difference in view on "how the game should be played" impacts his decision-making when the talent is there. Look no further than WWE's most recent champion and former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. I would say he, like Newton, views football and entertainment as equal partners, and Belichick didn't have many problems with him during his career in a Patriots uniform.
Belichick has long been willing to put aside differences when the talent justifies it. Sometimes it doesn't work out (with Aaron Hernandez being the most extreme example imaginable), but plenty of players who didn't seem like they'd fit the Patriot Way have rolled in and out of Foxborough. Belichick recognizes not every guy is going to be Matthew Slater or Devin McCourty, there to shut up and play football and not much else. If Newton ended up a Patriot, he and Belichick would get along fine. Belichick has dealt with more diverse characters before.
Pioli spent nearly a decade in New England's front office. It's just difficult to accept Belichick wouldn't sign Newton simply because Newton likes to celebrate like Superman after scoring a touchdown. There are numerous reasons Belichick might not want Newton in town, but his views on football and entertainment seem like they'd be very low on the list, if they're on it at all.