It's not as if I expected anything else.
Bill Belichick smirked briefly Tuesday morning as he approached the podium set up in the Red Level press box at Gillette Stadium that serves as the media workroom. He knew what was coming. And in some bizarre sort of way, he probably relished it.
It was vintage Belichick at the podium - on a par with, if not better than, the post-Spygate Belichick that turned obfuscation into an art form. Every question asked about the addition of Tim Tebow to the Patriots' roster was met with a blank stare or a scowl, a stock and non-committal answer and then, as each question was repeated, open disdain over being forced to repeat himself.
Tebow is a good athlete. Tebow will try to help the football team. Belichick makes all roster decisions to help the football team. Yada, yada, yada.
Yes, some reporters among the overload of national media that leaped onto the Tebow Express tried to pin Bill down, to get him to be more specific about why he thought he could do something that the Denver Broncos and New York Jets couldn't, which is to turn Tebow into a valuable NFL player.
Belichick's response? "I've already answered that question twice."
Again, none of that was surprising. It's what Bill does. It's what he's done since he took over the reins in 2000, and I'm sure you're as tired of me complaining about it as I am about feeling the need to complain.
Bill Parcells once said that confidence is the product of demonstrated ability, and Belichick clearly has ability and the confidence to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. But there's a lot of arrogance as well - maybe a little too much from a coach that hasn't won a Super Bowl in eight seasons and who has had questionable results with most of his other noteworthy free-agency signings of the recent past.
For every Corey Dillon and Randy Moss, there have been twice as many recent failures like Joey Galloway, Chad Ochocinco, Albert Haynesworth, Jonathan Fanene, Brandon Lloyd, Robert Gallery and so on. The Midas touch may be creating fool's gold more often than not these days, but one thing that's painfully evident is that the three rings are apparently still good enough to keep Patriots' owner Robert Kraft from questioning how his money is being spent.
I, however, really have to question the need for Tebow in New England.
First, he's a left-hander. Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett are almost identically sized-and-shaped right-handers, and the Patriots' offense is geared to their throwing patterns.
Second, he's not going to challenge Brady any time soon for the starting job, maybe not ever in his lifetime.
Third, Tebow's mechanics are questionable, at best. He has reportedly tried to work out the kinks in his delivery, but even in his first practice as a Patriot, his deep throws were inaccurate and often short. As Belichick might say, he is what he is.
And finally, he's not going to surprise anyone if he enters a game - either at quarterback or elsewhere. That was one of the main reasons why he failed with the New York Jets last year. He wasn't fooling anyone at all, and the defenses figured it all out pretty quickly.
Bottom line: The Patriots could have kept Wes Welker, but instead, they now have Tim Tebow. And even if Welker's departure couldn't have been prevented, perhaps the Patriots really need a shutdown cornerback or a fire-breathing pass-rusher more than they need an erratic third-string quarterback.
So, it escapes me what Belichick is trying to accomplish with bringing Tebow, the player (and not the person), to Foxboro.
By all reports, Tebow the person should be a welcome addition to the Patriots' locker room - and even more so because mere moments after he spoke ever-so-briefly to the media on Tuesday, he was placed under Belichick's Cone of Silence and probably won't be heard from again until he is about to play in one of the preseason games in August. And if I had to guess, my bet is that it will be on the road where half of the local media contingent won't be in attendance.
If there is a place in the entire NFL where Tebow the Player can avoid being Tebow the Phenomenon, in fact, it's Foxboro.
The starting quarterback barely speaks to the media, so it's a safe bet that the third-stringer will toil in anonymity, studying and practicing to become a better football player if it's in him to be one, without the constant distractions that became unmanageable last season in the madhouse that was the Jets. Perhaps the only positive thing about Belichick's Nixonian hatred of the media is that it will protect Tebow and insulate him against those that might want to keep the sideshow running unabated for another season.
But they will try. You can bet that the NFL Network, ESPN, maybe that new Fox sports network and some of the more sensationally-oriented online and print outlets will try their best to keep Tebowmania going great guns, filling air time and print with Tebow Tidbits that a certain segment of the sports-viewing public can't seem to live without.
Belichick threw down the gauntlet Tuesday, however. He was terse, uncooperative and dismissive, and openly hostile by the end of the first press conference of minicamp - the Bill we've all come to know and love over 13 previous seasons. That will definitely put off the news-side reporters that tried to bring their supposedly harder-edged journalism to the battle on Tuesday, but I suspect it won't be as easy for him to discourage ESPN and the NFL Network.
In any event, this is just the opening skirmish. The real battle won't begin until late July, when training camp opens - assuming that Tebow is still on the roster by that time.
If he is, then I quote the incomparable John Cleese: "And now, for something completely different."