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Bill Belichick, NFL Draft Analyst, Shows His TV Potential on 'Pat McAfee Show'

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The surreal aspect of the big media debut of Bill Belichick's coaching career after the New England Patriots was that he shared a set with a character named “Mad Mel” on “The Pat McAfee Show” for coverage of the NFL Draft.

On the McAfee Program, writer Ty Schmit impersonates ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., but actually does so in a sharper manner than current Kiper. It's benign, but it harkens back to the moment when an astute Kiper began carving out his legend as the ultimate draftnik more than four decades ago.

While it's a little strange to hear the Mad Mel character's commentary precede Belichick's about the draft picks, it was actually appropriate.

Belichick's analysis was like classic Kiper Jr., with one difference. Belichick is arguably the greatest NFL coach in history, so his words had much more impact. Belichick came to play in his opening act.

At 72, Belichick told everyone what he really thought about the 20-year-olds being drafted into shifts he might not have known or feigned knowing as a coach, while appearing famous – “SnapFace,” whoever – of new platforms. , such as ESPN+, YouTube and TikTok, where the McAfee program aired on Thursday.

It's part of Belichick's media blitz that will make him millions as he bides his time in hopes of returning to the sidelines. Wearing a blue suit with a pink tie and handkerchief, he didn't hold back, nor did the six quarterbacks drafted in the first round.

It was especially intriguing when he discussed his old team's selection of North Carolina's Drake Maye with the third pick in the draft.

“Drake compares himself to Josh Allen a lot,” Belichick said. “He's been doing that for a while. We'll see about that.”

Belichick noted that Maye has similar athleticism, but had previously said his footwork needed refinement. Belichick made headlines because he wasn't afraid to say what he really thought, a refreshing change from his brief press conferences as a coach.

He compared No. 1 pick Caleb Williams to Russell Wilson, but emphasized that Williams needed to become more reliable. He nitpicked a lot.

Former Patriot and rising broadcaster Jason McCourty noticed on social media looking at his former coach, I felt like I was in a team meeting again!

Belichick was a long way from team meetings with McAfee's new media show, which was a lot less serious than the traditional offerings on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network. Belichick seemed to grow more comfortable as the show went on, breaking off film and telling the show's video editor Evan Fox, “Roll that back, Foxy” when he wanted to highlight a highlight.

In addition to Mad Mel, “Boston” Connor Campbell was on set wearing a tuxedo, along with former NFL players AJ Hawk and Darius Butler. After choosing Maye in New England, Boston Connor, a Patriots fan, had a long comment about how great Maye would be. The audience then heard from Belichick, who sounded like he would have vetoed the choice if he were still running the show in Foxboro.

That wasn't all. The stream featured Oz Pearlman, aka “Oz The Mentalist,” who does some magic, including taping Connor's tuxedo for most of the draft for a while. After one Oz series, Belichick made the “I'm not worthy” bow move.

Belichick played along with everything. He participated in a mock interview with Commissioner Roger Goodell during an opening lineup. He served as booker and texted Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton to come.

There was a draft board that the cowboy hat-sporting Tone Digs, whose real name is Anthony DiGuilio, would point to as Belichick explained the options. Belichick even turned around to take a photo of the crowd at one point and inhaled it all.

This is just the beginning for Belichick. At the end of the draft Thursday, he announced that he will do a weekly segment with McAfee on Mondays during the regular season.

While this is now set in stone, he also has a semi-regular spot on ESPN's “Monday Night Football” Manningcast for this season. He is going to write a book about leadership. He could do a podcast and possibly a video show.

On Thursday, seated with McAfee, Mad Mel and the crew, Belichick looked like he was having a blast. He even smiled.

Fast clicks

– Before the draft started, ESPN host Mike Greenberg interviewed Goodell. It wasn't exactly Frost-Nixon. The funniest part was on ESPN when Greenberg asked about streaming and Goodell said that Amazon and YouTube have brought in a younger audience, emphasizing that this was here to stay.

— Laura Rutledge stood out with her player family interviews on ABC. Strong, concise questions that focused on details.

– On NFL Network, Kaylee Hartung was given the interview spot over the pick that previously belonged to Melissa Stark. Hartung worked with Cam Newton on the red carpet as the NFL Network focused on the fashion aspect of the players during the lead-up, while ESPN had the “College GameDay” crew doing more football in the hours leading up to the picks.

— One of my favorite moves from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is when he wants to criticize someone or something by bringing up a random fact from the past. An example of this was the Thursday before the draft of his SiriusXM show. In an attempt to downgrade the analytics, he said some of the assistant GMs were 24-year-olds from Dartmouth who had never heard of the Ice Bowl. The accuracy of the statement is certainly up for debate, as I'm not sure if there are any 24-year-old assistant NFL GMs, let alone just from Dartmouth, and if so, I bet they've heard of the Ice Bowl . Nevertheless, it was funny.

— Beautiful tribute to the late Chris Mortensen by ESPN in the preliminary draft.

(Photo of Bill Belichick at his January press conference announcing his departure from the Patriots: Eric Canha / USA Today)

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