New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on February 5, 2008.
BB: As I said after the game, it's a disappointing end to a lot of good things that happened this season. The players did a great job all year long. We played a lot of good football, but we're certainly disappointed about the way it ended. We came so close, but it just didn't work out. It takes a lot to get to this point, but we're starting all over into the '08 season. It's already time to move on. We're into the offseason and that's just the way it is, so we'll start moving ahead toward next year.
Q: As good a regular season as you had, into the playoffs and the Super Bowl, is it still tough to accentuate the positives and all the good things that you accomplished?
BB: It's pretty much over, time to move on. I'm not going to sit here and dwell on anything good or bad that happened in the past. It's over, it is what it is and we played our last game of the '07 season.
Q: What's the first mode of business? I know you never stop.
BB: First thing is to go back and look at what happened during the season, evaluate our team and our scheme and our players. Then we start moving into the team building aspect, free agency, the draft, personnel decisions, playbook and all the things that we do prepare for the offseason program, the spring camps and ultimately the '08 season
Q: Did you watch with your coaching staff already the film of the Super Bowl?
BB: Actually I haven't had a chance to see it yet.
Q: Is that something that is just going to be part of an overall evaluation when you go back and look at it and is it going to be a high priority without another game to prepare for or is it just more for your edification when you watch it?
BB: We'll definitely watch it. It's certainly part of the overall season evaluation. I just personally haven't had time to look at it. I know some of our coaches have, but we didn't get in until late Monday night and I've just been dealing with a lot of other things here today and working on some other stuff. I just haven't had a chance to watch it, but I'll certainly watch it. It'll be part of our overall body of work from the '07 season, which will be part of our analysis on how we can improve and where we need to go heading into next year.
Q: There's a large amount of conversation about the relative appropriateness of you going across with a second left and shaking hands with Tom [Coughlin]. Is there any further explanation on why you did that that you would like to give?
BB: Basically, on that last play I wasn't really sure of the time. Everybody started on to the field and then I got over there, I wanted to congratulate Tom - I wanted to get over there and congratulate him and tell him that - congratulate him on the championship. They deserved it. There really wasn't' much left at that point.
Q: I know it's all water under the bridge but I couldn't help but wonder as I saw Pierre Woods on top of the ball, is down by contact on a fumble a reviewable play?
BB: The whole thing is about possession. Ultimately on the play the officials ruled that there wasn't any clear-cut possession and Mike Carey was standing right there in front of it. I can't imagine that he would've ruled it any differently than the way he did. He was standing right on top of the play, so I really didn't give it much thought. The ruling that they gave on the field, I didn't really think about anything more than the next play at that point to be honest with you.
Q: Coach, I know fans are reliving a lot of plays especially on that final drive, do you relive any of those? Do you second-guess any decisions? Or do you just move right on?
BB: Anytime you coach a game you always look at things and feel like there are things you could have done better. I certainly could have - like I feel about every game, there's always room to improve and coach better. I'm sure all the players that participated in the game feel the same way. That there's a way they could have played better, plays they could have done better. When you play a close game like that, I'm sure that's every player and coach's feeling, assistant coach, head coach, players, everybody. That's the way you feel after a game like that. It's really close, it's disappointing and you look at what you did and say well if I had done this or I had done that maybe it would have made a difference. I think that's a normal feeling in a game like that. I certainly feel it and I'm sure everybody else that participated in the game feels that about the entire game. As I said I haven't gone through each specific play yet, so I can't comment on anything [in] a lot of detail, but sure. We all feel that way.
Q: Will you take any time off? Take a week or two off and get away from things for a little while?
BB: I don't know exactly what my schedule's going to be in the next few days. We traveled all day yesterday and [I'm] just getting back in the office here and get a few things organized and take care of some things that are coming up here at the end of the season and just go from there.
Q: When are the exit physicals and is every player required to show up for that?
BB: Every player is required to have a physical at the end of the season, yes.
Q: Were those today?
BB: There are different schedules on those. Everybody needs to have one. It could be done at different times depending what the player's individual situation is and how that's set up with the medical people.
Q: Coach there has been speculation that some of the older players, Rodney [Harrison], Junior [Seau] and maybe Tedy [Bruschi] may want to retire. Do you expect all three of those be back next year?
BB: At the end of each season, I've said this in previous years and I would say it really every year, I don't think the day after the season is a great time to make decisions about anything. I think we all need to give the end of the season a little bit of time. Whatever decisions need to be made, sometimes they're timely decisions and you can't wait forever on them, but I don't think the day after the season is a great time to be making a lot of important decisions on anything. How those players feel now and how they might feel a week from now, or two weeks from now, or a month from now could be entirely different. Certainly, I've seen that in my career as a coach and I've had feelings after a game, that after a period of time have shifted a little bit too for various reasons. I personally wouldn't put too much into anything that happens soon after the end of any season, good or bad. Immediately after a particular game a lot of times those are emotional decisions and not really good fundamental ones.
Q: Is that the same line of thinking applied to a coaching staff too and whether you expect it remain intact?
BB: I think that applies to everything. Again, some decisions have to be made in a timely manner. Whether you want to make them or not they need to be made is some kind of timely fashion.
Q: Are you confident that you'll have the same coaching staff intact for next year?
BB: You asked me a question about the timing of those decisions and I just said I don't think the day after the season is the time to make those. I think some decisions come in a timely way and then you have to make them when that time comes, but I would not be in a rush to make a decision the day after the season ended on anything.