The NFL's football players are increasingly using social media to build their brands, express their frustrations, and sell their condos, but the same familiarity shouldn't be expected from one of the game's most successful coaches. "SnapFace and all that, I don’t really get those,” the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told Boston's WEEI sports radio. “I’m just really worried about getting our team ready to go. I’m not really too worried about what they put on InstantChat, or whatever it is.”
Belichick was speaking in response to a Facebook Live video, broadcast from the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room in the aftermath of their playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, in which Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin called the Patriots "assholes." Ironically, Tomlin and a select group of players also used the post-game motivational speech to emphasize the value of staying quiet on social media in the week before the upcoming AFC Championship game between the two teams, all the while being broadcast via wide receiver Antonio Brown's Facebook Live stream.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin on Patriots: "We spotted those assholes a day and a half...so be it. We'll be ready for their ass." pic.twitter.com/MB4kLwVgIz— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) January 16, 2017
It's not the first time Belichick's made his distaste for modern technology known. The NFL was forced to defend its sideline Surface tablets — given to coaches after the league signed a deal with Microsoft — after the Patriots coach was shown on camera hurling one onto a box in frustration. Belichick said he was "done with the tablets," stating they were "too undependable" for him, and that he would stick to pictures instead.
Maybe Belichick's too busy with yet another playoff run to get involved in social media, then, or maybe he actually has the right idea. Rather than try to understand social media and get ahead of it — something that's already failed for the Steelers — it may be better for NFL players and coaches to cultivate a Belichick-esque ignorance of Snapchat, Facebook, and all the services in between. Certainly, that approach seems to have filtered down to Patriots players — quarterback Tom Brady has only just launched his own official Instagram page, in 2017.