Coach Belichick, Patriots In Championship Form at White House

The Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriots visited President Barack Obama at the White House on April 23.  Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports
The Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriots visited President Barack Obama at the White House on April 23. Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports

Love him or loathe him, Bill Belichick will go down as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, which we were reminded of Thursday as he made another trip to the White House.

Yet the New England Patriots coach, wearing the rings earned from his first three Super Bowl victories, further distinguished himself during a ceremony on the South Lawn that feted the franchise’s fourth crown with his reaction to a classic one-liner from President Obama.

Belichick might be the first coach in NFL history to serve an in-your-face, thumbs down gesture to the Commander-in-Chief.

It looked very Republican, but the response – which Obama laughed off amid jeers from a pro-Patriots crowd of guests – was really an NFL-centric political statement.

Regardless, Obama no doubt struck a nerve when he alluded to the unresolved Deflategate controversy that infuriated the Patriots brass and clouded the days leading to their Super Bowl XLIX victory.

“I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events,” Obama said, “but with the Patriots in town, I was worried that 11 out of 12 of them would fall flat.”

Ouch.

He added, “That whole story got blown out of proportion.”

When Obama turned to see Belichick’s response, the coach grinned and flashed a thumb’s down.

Of course, the story gained another layer from Rob Gronkowski.

When someone asked the all-pro tight end/all-world party animal whether he was drinking during his visit, Gronk brushed aside the silly question and served his own version of a thumbs-down gesture.

“Maybe the president was getting wasted, with the Deflategate joke,” Gronkowski told reporters.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Jarrett Bell

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