Bill Belichick's best sideline moments as Patriots head coach

Bill Belichick's best sideline moments as Patriots head coach originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Bill Belichick may not be the loudest coach at the podium, but his actions often spoke volumes on the sideline.

The 71-year-old head coach provided plenty of entertaining moments at Gillette Stadium over the last 24 seasons as Patriots head coach. That time is up, though, as he departed the organization on Thursday, leaving behind a legacy of wins, titles and even some in-game antics.

From expletives to tablet tosses, here are some of the top sideline moments from Belichick's Patriots tenure:

"F--- you, Mason!"

Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Derrick Mason drew the ire of Belichick during a 2009 Patriots-Ravens matchup.

Mason shared some harmless trash-talk after catching a pass near New England's sideline. A moody Belichick fired back.

"Oh, f--- you Mason. Just f--- you, will ya?" Belichick responded. "Why don't we talk after the game, alright? Just shut the f--- up."

His next line was the icing on the cake.

"Can you look at the scoreboard?" Belichick added.

Mason opened up about his exchange with Belichick in a 1-on-1 with our Tom E. Curran back in 2019.

"Here's the thing: None of it was directed at Bill," Mason told Curran. "It all had to do with Dean Pees."

Pees was the Patriots' defensive coordinator at the time. He had a history with Mason dating back to their time together at Michigan State.

"Dean Pees and I had a relationship. So, Dean Pees and I are going back at each other and I was laughing, because I enjoy having fun on the field," Mason added. "I was laughing, and we were moving the chains. And I guess Bill just took exception to it, and Bill said something, and I laughed it off.

It wasn't the only time Belichick got into it with an opposing wideout ...

Belichick vs. Thielen

In 2018, Belichick exchanged words with Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, who took exception to a Patriots player going down to the ground with an apparent injury around the time New England challenged a Vikings first down.

"Interesting timing for a guy to go down," Thielen told reporters after the game. "It was a close play that could've been reviewed. For me, I just lost my emotions."

Thielen expressed his displeasure to an official near where Belichick was standing on the Patriots' sideline. Belichick didn't like whatever Thielen had to say, because he was seen on the broadcast telling the two-time Pro Bowler to "shut the f--- up."

"It's football, there's emotions. He can think what he wants to think about me. It doesn't really change how I'm going to go play the game," Thielen added. "He can hate me all he wants. I'm still going to be the same person I am. I'm going to try to go out and do my best and try to compete every play."

Belichick chalked the altercation up to "two competitors exchanging holiday greetings."

"Ever hear of Wally Pipp?"

Wally Pipp was a star first baseman for the New York Yankees from 1915 to 1925, when he famously lost his starting role to the legendary Lou Gehrig after experiencing a headache. Gehrig went on to start the next 2,000 games for New York, while Pipp is best known as the guy Gehrig replaced.

Belichick educated former Patriots wide receiver/returner Wes Welker about Pipp's story during a hilarious exchange on the sideline in 2009. While Welker sat out a preseason game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles with an injury, a rookie seventh-round wide receiver named Julian Edelman returned a punt return for a touchdown.

"Ever hear of Wally Pipp?" Belichick asked Welker. "That might be the punt return story."

"He can have it, man," Welker responded.

"Oh, there ya go, way to compete!" Belichick said.

Welker wasn't necessarily Wally Pipp'd. He went on to enjoy a few more productive seasons in New England while Edelman developed. But it wasn't long before Edelman became the primary return man and arguably the more important player in Patriots lore.

Tablet tosses

Belichick vs. the Microsoft Surface is one of the NFL's great rivalries. He reached his breaking point with the league's official tablet in 2016.

"As you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets," Belichick told reporters. "They’re just too undependable for me. I’m going to stick with pictures, which several of our other coaches do, as well, because there just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can’t take it anymore."

Belichick avoided using Microsoft Surfaces for a while but eventually came around to using them again. Thankfully he did, because some of his best sideline moments included taking his frustration out on tablets.

He spiked a tablet and then tossed it during the AFC Championship Game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.

He also chucked his tablet in Week 6 of the 2023 season vs. the Las Vegas Raiders.

Belichick never was very fond of technology, after all.

The phone spike

Belichick's Patriots were getting their doors blown off during a late-December Monday Night Football showdown with the Buffalo Bills in 2020. Already frustrated with how the game was going, Belichick was told to challenge a catch made by Bills tight end Dawson Knox.

That advice cost the Patriots a timeout as the call stood. Whoever told Belichick to challenge the play received an earful on the phone, which Belichick angrily spiked in what made for a hilarious moment.

Throwing the challenge flag

No coach has made challenging plays an art quite like Belichick. He is the Picasso of the red challenge flag.

First and foremost, Belichick keeps the challenge flag in his sock. He even once forgot which sock he hid the flag in.

Belichick often makes a show out of throwing the challenge flag. There's this one, for example:

And then there's the one he threw in the Patriots' Week 2 game against the Miami Dolphins this year. Belichick waited for the official to move the chains before spiking the challenge flag next to him and tucking it back into his sock.

An absolute masterclass.

Snubbing Schooler

In 2022, then-rookie special teamer Brenden Schooler got the full Belichick experience during a game against the Cleveland Browns.

Schooler recovered a muffed Browns punt return with under five minutes to go. The Patriots scored on the next play to essentially seal the victory.

For whatever reason, Schooler thought it would be a good idea to present the ball to Belichick on the sideline. Belichick had a hilariously dumbfounded reaction as he passed the ball off to his assistant.

“It was obviously a big game for him coming back to Cleveland,” Schooler said after the game. “So, just a nice gesture: ‘Here’s the game ball.’ But I think I was a little too excited and should’ve waited until after.”

Belichick spoke about the awkward moment during an appearance on WEEI.

“It’s always exciting for guys to make plays and exciting for all of us,” he said with a laugh. “We’re happy when we make them. But yeah, just gotta move on. Go to the next play.”