ORLANDO -- The NFL’s Annual Meeting (we know it as the Owners Meetings) are going off over the next few days here at the Ritz-Carlton.
In addition to the owners, you got your GMs and head coaches here, as well as the full complement of league officials and agents. Then there’s the swarm of media gnats that I travel in, sitting in the lobby trying to hijack any of the above as they pass by with their kids on the way to the pool, golf course or Disney shuttle.
It’s a funny dance but a strong take since you’ll get fish-in-a-barrel access to these guys and learn stuff you wouldn’t on your couch.
Most importantly, we're expecting to get an hour (give or take) of access to Bill Belichick on Tuesday morning at the annual coaches breakfast.
Belichick didn't take part last year. In 2016, Belichick famously snowplowed microphones and tape recorders out of his face when he settled in to begin addressing the media.:
A lot was made about how rude it was but, if you were there, you saw why he was irked. The microphones were already stacked and he was about to begin speaking when an NFL Network employee reached over his shoulder and plunked her microphone down without acknowledging that, "Hey, here I am reaching over you to plop something under your chin . . . " As her credential wagged in his face, Belichick -- who can't stand the coaches breakfast in the first place -- glared up with an "Are you kidding me?" look.
At this point, Belichick doesn't have a lot of patience for the dog-and-pony show aspect of the meetings. He likes to see his football friends. He'll no doubt be happy to spend time with Matt Patricia, Bob Quinn, John Robinson, Mike Vrabel and catch up with agents he has business with and coaches or GMs he enjoys.
But the legislative aspect of these meetings, where the Competition Committee convenes to change the game that he's made his life's work in ways that he loathes (legislating out special-teams plays, for instance), isn't something he enjoys.
He made a run at being really involved back in 2015 when the Patriots submitted a bunch of rule change proposals. When the proposal to add more cameras to give better looks at sideline and goal line plays was rebuffed, Belichick shared his irritation and the word of his being vocal got out. I wouldn't be surprised if that pissed him off. Meanwhile, the notion that Patriots proposals are DOA because they come from the Patriots was voiced last year. The Patriots are to be legislated against . . . not propose legislation.
For me (for meeeeeeee . . . you need to listen to the Bill Burr podcast to get the tone right on that), the best way to get after it at these things is to bring a checklist.
My “must-dos” include . . .
-- Bothering Drew Rosenhaus about Gronk and whether he’s closer to a decision on returning.
-- Bothering Belichick about Gronk and whether this demonstrated level of pliability is exactly what he’s looking for.
-- Bothering Rich McKay (head of the Competition Committee) about the glut of Patriots-related/prompted rules changes over the years and whether he’s noticed that.
-- Bothering Troy Vincent about his statement that the Corey Clement touchdown should have been ruled incomplete in the Super Bowl:
-- Bothering Robert Kraft about Tom Brady’s sudden-onset football ambivalence and how to cure it.
-- Bothering assorted “football people” about the quarterback crop in the draft.
-- Playing Marco Polo with Andy Reid, Jim Irsay and Marvin Lewis.
Sunday afternoon is when most of the principals arrive (although I did see Matt Patricia and his entire family checking in at the airport Saturday morning). We’ll be checking in from down here on Sports Sunday tonight around 9:30 p.m.
On Monday, the tentative plan is to catch Robert Kraft around noontime. We’ll write that mess up and have all your video thanks to intrepid cameraman Glenn Gleason, who’s also here. We’ll be back with you again on both Early Edition and Boston Sports Tonight on Monday night.
We’ll cover all that with a Periscope video Tuesday morning and stories on the items of note. Later that day, we’ll have Quick Slants originating from down here with Jerod Mayo and Phil Perry back in Burlington. Of course, Quick Slants the Podcast will drop that evening as well.
The whole thing shuts down Wednesday around noon after the owners vote on Competition Committee proposals and Roger Goodell shuts it down with his end-of-meetings press conference.
So we got you covered.