When Bill Belichick met with ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough on Saturday for the Monday Night Football production meeting, they discussed the Army-Navy game that was to kick off later that day. They also discussed John Harbaugh, and McDonough asked Belichick what he thought of the Ravens head coach.
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The two have been pitted against one another in high-stakes matchups since Harbaugh took over as head coach in 2008, and Harbaugh was openly critical of the formations that the Patriots used in the 2014 AFC Divisional Round matchup to beat Baltimore.
Then there's the matter of the Ravens helping to spark Deflategate, making McDonough's question a fascinating for the type of meeting when Belichick can be more candid than usual.
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"Bill Belichick told me on Saturday he doesn’t have a personal issue with John," McDonough told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show. "He just wishes he would stop talking about those formations, those plays from the game two years ago. When I said that to [John] Harbaugh, he clearly got rankled by it. I think it would be very vague to draw the assumption they don’t like each other, and I think it’s unfortunate because I know Bill put in a good word for John when he was their candidate for the job and at one time they did have a really good relationship.
"But you know how it goes. It’s one thing to be buddies with someone when they're not a competitor. Now, the Ravens are the team -- maybe along with Denver and Indianapolis when Peyton [Manning] was there -- they are the biggest thorn in the Patriots’ side. It’s different when people are competing with you and beating you from time to time. The Patriots aren’t really used to that. I don’t think it is a surprise that their personal relationship would change given the nature of the competition."