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Meet the new, relaxed Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers questions during a news conference on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


My biggest takeaway from Sunday evening’s media session: Bill Belichick was in an unusually chipper mood.

We mentioned even before the Patriots arrived Sunday that Belichick has taken a more relaxed attitude during this year’s playoff run.

Perhaps he’s just getting mellow as he gets older, but we doubt it. Everything Belichick does and says has a purpose. He may have received some feedback or realized that his team was a little tight before the Super Bowl four years ago.

I’ve only been to the last five Super Bowls, but there wasn’t a team that seemed less happy to be there than the ’07 Patriots. They seemed to feel the weight of Spygate and the undefeated season.

None of it would have mattered if David Tyree didn’t happen, but there was definitely a different vibe on Sunday. Belichick’s attitude seemed to trickle down to players like Logan Mankins, Matthew Slater, and Wes Welker who all were having fun.

“I’m sure he’s enjoying it. I think you’d have to be almost dead not to enjoy this,’’ Mankins said. “It is only Sunday, so wait till we get a little further in the week.”

Still, it’s not like Belichick has suddenly turned into another person.

“Even when he’s in a lighter mood, it’s pretty close to the same as he is any other time,” guard Brian Waters said. “So it’s a very thin line between unhappy and happy with him and it’s hard to tell when those days are. As a player, you never know what he’s happy about or what he’s not happy about, so I try not to read too much into it, because from one minute to another, you just never know.”

That’s the way Belichick likes it.