Belichick urges Patriots to be on time despite weather


With the Northeast bracing to be bombarded with snow, the government in Massachusetts asked people to stay off the roads. Many schools and business closed in advance.

The New England Patriots are not one of those holed up to wait out the storm.

As usual, Bill Belichick's message to the team: Don't be late.

"I wouldn't want to be the guy who's late tomorrow," special teams captain Matthew Slater said Wednesday, via the Boston Herald. "But look, I don't think we're going to have an issue. Guys understand we need to be here. The expectation is what it is. We live in New England. There's going to be weather. Give yourself some extra time; as simple as that."

The Patriots are on a bye this weekend but are scheduled to practice at about 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. The practice will be indoor, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.

Veterans like Slater and corner Devin McCourty understand that Belichick doesn't mess around when it comes to blaming tardiness on the weather.

"He's mentioned it that he doesn't care," McCourty said, per the team's official website. "Don't call and say your car got stuck. I think everyone knows there's two hotels up here at Patriot Place so stay there for the night. Find a way. But I tell guys, like wake up earlier, especially if you don't have a garage or something. Wake up. Go clean your car out. I think guys know. We're in the NFL playoffs. I think everyone kind of -- if you've been here for a week or two weeks you kind of get that this guy Bill that talks every day in the morning meeting, he doesn't play. So not much needs to be said about being here on time and being ready to work."

Belichick famously sent home four players -- Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas, Derek Burgess and Gary Guyton -- in 2009 who were late due to a December snowstorm. Moss being disciplined proved Belichick doesn't play favorites or give reprieve because Mother Nature rattles the cages.

McCourty noted the hype around the Moss discipline, which took place the year before he was drafted to New England out of Rutgers, instructed his living decisions as a rookie.

"Like I saw that on ESPN. I knew not to come late," he said of the coverage in 2009. "I found a couple nice places that are about 15 or 20 minutes away my rookie year and I was like 'Nah, I'll do the three minutes away.' I think guys know that. You see it. You see that around the league when you're in college. Your season is usually over by now except for a couple teams so you're following that. Everyone follows the NFL when you play in college so guys know. You know here is the one place where no matter what time of the year it is, if it's not going well you'll get fired. Like I always say, the goal every day is not to get fired. So guys know that."

The best part of this story is none of the major outlets -- Boston Globe, Boston Herald, ESPN, WEEI -- even quote Belichick talking about his rigid attitude toward weather excuses. They don't need to. The message is so ingrained in the "Patriot Way" that players know exactly what the coach thinks without a word being spoken.