During the championship ceremony on the field at Gillette Stadium, Patriots owner Robert Kraft had just finished making his victorious remarks when he turned to Belichick and proffered the Lamar Hunt Trophy. The 65-year-old coach held it for about as long as it takes to say, “Whatever,” before giving it to Kraft’s son Jonathan, a team executive.
The scene was reminiscent of the one that played out at the same field in 2017, when the Patriots beat the Steelers to advance to the Super Bowl. After that triumph, Belichick actually held onto the trophy for a reasonable period of time, but he never held it aloft nor showed any particular reverence for it.
Belichick, of course, is known for a dour public persona and a single-minded focus on winning, so it would be out of character for him to react with glee to anything but the ultimate prize. In fairness, after the Patriots’ 2015 AFC championship win over the Colts, Belichick actually cracked a smile, held the Lamar Hunt Trophy up and joked to CBS’s Jim Nantz, “I only have one thing to say: We’re on to Seattle.”
Still, the past couple of seasons have shown Belichick has his eye on bigger things than an AFC title, even in the immediate afterglow of a conference championship that would represent a joyous occasion for any other NFL coach. These days, if you want New England’s coach to get worked up about a trophy, it had better have the name “Vince Lombardi” on it.