Patriots

Patriots

Bill Belichick is the NFL's Scrooge. Having fun is overrated — he's just here to win football games.

That's the perception, anyway. But the latest episode of NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast reveals a whole different side of the New England Patriots head coach.

How different, you ask? Well, what if we told you Belichick started a celebratory snowball fight with one of his players after a blowout victory?

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Rob Ninkovich certainly wasn't expecting it. New England had just walloped the Tennessee Titans 59-0 in a 2009 game that ended with inches of snow on the field, and the Patriots edge rusher — then in his first year with the team — was walking to his truck in the Gillette Stadium parking lot.

"All of a sudden a snowball comes in," Ninkovich recalled to our Phil Perry in Episode 2 of the "Sports Uncovered" podcast. "I'm like, 'Who the heck is throwing snowballs?' And it was Bill."

" ... I’m sure he was pumped because we had won by a lot. It was just kind of like a fun moment where you were like, 'He’s not so bad.' "

Sports Uncovered Podcast: The Bill Belichick You Don't Know | Listen and subscribe | Watch on YouTube

 
 

As Ninkovich and other ex-Patriots related in the podcast, Belichick can be light-hearted and even playful around his players behind the scenes. But the Patriots coach can also be scathingly critical — which is why Ninkovich had to make an important calculation before returning fire.

"I threw a snowball back, but it was one of those, 'Make sure you don’t hit him,' like way overthrow," Ninkovich said. "But you've gotta act like you’re going to throw a snowball.

"Because if you throw a 90 mph heater and it hits him square in the eye, then you could possibly be cut. Or he respects the fact that you come after him."

Ninkovich apparently made the right call: He went on to enjoy an eight-year career in New England as one of Belichick's most reliable defensive players and helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls.

To hear more about the "other" side of Belichick, check out "Sports Uncovered: The Belichick You Don't Know" and subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" for free wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also watch on YouTube.