There’s a 100 percent chance of snow in Foxboro tomorrow, with a foot or more expected. Blizzard conditions are possible, and Gov. Charlie Baker has asked everyone to stay off the roads as many schools and businesses have announced their closures in advance. And Bill Belichick, as always, expects all of his players to drive to practice on time and will not tolerate anyone who shows up late as a result.
Belichick himself isn’t quoted in today’s ESPN story about his need for timeliness, weather be damned, but the players who were quoted paint a pretty clear picture of the intensity of his wishes here:
“You certainly better leave yourself enough time to get here on time tomorrow. We all know there is weather. Coach has mentioned that several times to the team, so I wouldn’t want to be the guy who is late tomorrow,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said.
Added safety Duron Harmon, another team captain: “Snow doesn’t matter. We have to find a way to get here. Just be prepared. ... These days are too important for us to have guys missing and being late and being a distraction.”
“I tell guys, ‘Wake up earlier.’ Especially if you don’t have a garage or something. Wake up and go clean your car off. I think guys know. We’re in the NFL playoffs. I think everyone, if you’ve been here for a week or two weeks, you kind of get that — ‘this guy Bill that talks every day in the early morning, he doesn’t play,’ said safety Devin McCourty.
This is, of course, nothing new—linebacker Adalius Thomas was forced to leave a 2009 team meeting when he arrived nine minutes late, after calling ahead to let them know he’d be late due to trouble driving in the snow.
It’s the playoffs; every practice matters; punctuality is generally good. But it is possible to value each of these things and also the idea of basic safety. Belichick can acknowledge that there’s a blizzard approaching and encourage his players to do the same—“we all know there is weather” isn’t quite there—and even encourage them to be safe as they do their best to make it to practice on time tomorrow morning. He could acknowledge that they are real human beings whose lives have value outside their ability to make it to practice tomorrow. Belichick could even acknowledge that he is a real human being whose life has value outside his ability to hold practice tomorrow!
If such a thing were true, that is, which it does not seem to be.