As restrained and laconic as Belichick may be in victory, he's just as muted and fractious in defeat.
Sunday night's snub of a CBS post-game interview was just the latest example of the latter.
Following the Patriots' 28-13 defeat in the AFC Championship Game, Belichick declined an interview request with CBS sideline reporter Steve Tasker. Instead, the interview was conducted with cornerback Devin McCourty.
There's something to be said about being gracious in defeat. We've seen the New England Patriots five times in the last 12 years be victorious. And we've seen the opposing coaches that lost come out and speak to our Steve Tasker. Coach [Bill] Cowher [who was sitting next to Sharpe] did it when they lost. We saw this last week. Bill Belichick makes it very easy for you to root against the Patriots. You can't be a poor sport all the time. You're not going to win every time. And he does this every time he loses. It is unacceptable.
While the short interview wouldn't have provided viewers with anything ground-breaking, and Belichick eventually made his way to the podium for his contractually-obligated press conference, both Sharpe and Chase made important points about why Belichick declining the interview wasn't right.
Sharpe cites the history of losing coaches in the AFC title game speaking with CBS, many times after Belichick's Patriots delivered a crushing, season-ending loss. For Belichick to decline the opposite side of the coin now is petulant at best.
Money, however, might make the more important point. According to Chase, CBS paid upwards of $600 millions to broadcast AFC regular season and postseason games in 2012-13. Win or lose, coaches providing a short post-game interview with the broadcasting network is more or less expected. It's a part of the overall package.
Of course, Sunday's loss wasn't the first Belichick has taken poorly. Whether it's running down an official after a game, making a spectacle of a post-game handshake or giving careless, monotone answers at press conferences, Belichick doesn't exactly have a long history of being gracious in defeat.
That said, such an attitude is part of the Belichick legacy.
Becoming one of the best head coaches in NFL history requires a hate and suffering in loss that goes beyond normal human expression. It's that drive to avoid such circumstance that gives the best a winning edge, even if every outcome doesn't end in a victory.
Should Belichick have allowed CBS 45 seconds of his time Sunday night? Absolutely. The move did little to soften his reputation as the NFL's head-coaching grinch.
But acting like an impudent child after losses isn't something that is going away with Belichick. For some of the great ones—and for better or worse—winning trumps the maturity of handling a difficult loss.
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