FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Any doubt the New England Patriots aren't going to be able to handle the Tim Tebow frenzy was squelched in 10 minutes on Tuesday morning. That was all it took for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to douse the delirium of nearly 100 reporters and camera people firing questions about the Patriots' newest quarterback.
He did it in a minicamp news conference that people would call "Belichickian."
Which means that after walking into the room, seeing the long line of television cameras and reporters, he smirked and then said nothing.
Here is the general text of his most effusive statement on the man who will be the most watched player on his roster:
"He's talented, he's smart, he works hard," Belichick said.
What do you like about Tim? someone asked.
"He's talented, he's smart, he works hard," Belichick replied.
Does Tebow just need a few adjustments to succeed?
"We'll see how it goes," Belichick replied.
What interested you in Tim?
"I like Tim, I have a lot of respect for Tim," Belichick responded.
And on it went. Most queries got some variation of one of those three answers. But, of course, that wasn't enough. This wasn't just a late spring update on Tom Brady people wanted to know about. This was Tim Tebow, the most famous man in football 17 months ago when he came into this stadium as the Denver Broncos' quarterback and suffered a division round loss to end an improbable run to the postseason. ESPN and NFL Network were broadcasting Belichick live. They wanted more than, "We'll see how it goes."
One man announced he was a political reporter in New Hampshire dispatched to Foxborough just for this. What did that say to Belichick about the power of Tebow?
Apparently not much. Belichick glared at the man and grunted.
Someone else asked about the role of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the former Broncos coach who took Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. Surely McDaniels said something to Belichick.
"I don't know," Belichick said.
"You don't know?" a television reporter shouted.
"There's a lot of people in the organization who contributed," Belichick replied.
The bigger point of Tuesday morning was to illustrate there wasn't going to be a show when it comes to Tebow. Belichick may come off as cold and secretive and overbearing but he does not let things get out of hand. He intentionally said little about Tebow's potential, his role – other than the player will be a quarterback – and the way he expects Tebow will fit in the locker room. He did something to Tebowmania in those 10 minutes on Tuesday that millions of fed up fans have failed to do in five years – he deflated it.
In the end, a television reporter was left to shout questions about Belichick's thoughts on Tebowing as the eyes of the Patriots' mastermind stared dark and cold. There would be nothing on Tebowing, nothing on throwing, nothing on God, nothing on Tebow's college coach Urban Meyer – a friend of Belichick's. Nothing really about Tebow. Nothing but a whole lot of frigid silence and awkward pauses.
When a Patriots official said there were only two questions left in the media session, you could almost feel a sigh of relief in the room. Belichick grunted, didn't really answer one last Tebow question and then walked away. As he disappeared toward an elevator, a nervous laughter filled the room.
The frenzy that follows Tim Tebow ran straight into the one man who will suffer none of it. Ten minutes and Bill Belichick had delivered a point Rex Ryan never could have made in Tebow's lost year with the Jets.
"In all honesty we've been in front of bigger crowds before," Belichick said.
Which is why Tebow might work just fine in New England after all.
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