Bill Belichick is taciturn, curmudgeonly, ruthless, secretive, quite possibly evil, and we're going to miss him so much whenever he decides to hang up the hoodie. The Patriots coach was one of his rare expansive moods when speaking at the NFL meetings this morning, and when Belichick is on, there's no one better.
There were the usual one-line answers. On signing elite cornerback Darrelle Revis: "I think he'll help our team." On the exploding Denver-New England arms race: "We're just trying to improve our team."
But Bill made some funnies! On being the only coach absent from yesterday's class photo: "I missed it. Maybe they can photoshop me in there." On when Rob Gronkowski will be fully recovered: "Did you seriously ask me that question?"
But when it came to proposed rule changes, Belichick got serious. It's sort of frightening to realize that Bill Belichick's vision of the NFL is better than the one we actually have. He wants to make every single play reviewable:
"I'm not proposing more challenges. All I'm saying is, as a coach, if you want to challenge a play, I think you should be able to challenge it. And why does it have to be limited to, I don't know, there's four or five pages in the rules book of plays that can be challenged, and now this year there are more proposals to amend that probably because of one or two plays that happened in the league last year.
"So, if I throw a challenge on an offensive holding play and they look at it, and they don't think it's holding, I lose the challenge. But if it's an egregious play, I don't see why it should not be allowed to be challenged when it affects the outcome of the game. I think we can find multiple, multiple examples of plays for example where the offense isn't set, that if the officials could look at it, it's very clear that they're not set, that would nullify what subsequently happened. I can think of many situations where that would have affected the outcome of the game.
"If we fundamentally want to try to get the games right and the plays right, then I don't see why they should be excluded. Even though they're judgment calls, but if you're willing to use a timeout on that, I think you should be able to do that. It's not going to slow the game down. It's no different than if you challenged another play. So, I'm not looking for more challenges or anything else, just if you think it was a call that was missed, that you should have the opportunity to have the officials review it. That's all."
Belichick's proposal is simple and logical, wouldn't slow down the game, and would insure more correct calls. So naturally there's no momentum for it.
Belichick managed to take a shot at the league on another review issue, adding more cameras to the field—especially near the end zone—to better inform replay reviews. The only argument against it has been the cost of the cameras. For Belichick, that doesn't fly in a multibillion dollar league.
"The camera idea we've been talking about for years, but that's never been formally discussed by the membership...We just spent, whatever it was, how many millions of dollars on the replay system. I mean, there's a thousand cameras in every stadium, so that if somebody spills a beer on somebody, we have it on record, right? Maybe we could have a bake sale. Raise some money for the cameras. Do a car wash."
As much as I'd like to see officials get every call correct, if it came down to a choice? I think I'd rather see the NFL's owners and coaches hold a bake sale.