BOSTON -- There's no question that we live in a unique time for sports media. The line between reporting and entertainment can get blurred, leading to a mishmash of "information" driving stories through the news cycle.
It's been happening a bit with Bill Belichick's status in New England this season, but it was thrown into hyperdrive by Dan Orlovsky this week.
Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, Orlovsky wanted to present himself as someone who Knows Things. Yet he didn't have the temerity or the factual footing to be someone who Reports Things. Despite that paradoxical hindrance to real information being presented, Orlovsky's comments made headlines all around the sports world.
"I've heard that. I've heard more and more of that over the past, like, week. I'm not a reporter, all that stuff. But I have heard that," Orlovsky said when asked about Belichick and the Patriots mutually parting ways at season's end. "I have heard that that's gonna be the case, and it's kind of -- who knows the likelihood of it? But I've heard that that's gonna happen, and I've heard the location is already kind of determined as well."
When pressed for more details, Orlovsky just said, "I'm not giving ... I ... I just, I have heard that."
Perhaps he's heard the winning Powerball numbers for next week, too.
Orlovsky did say something of critical importance in that moment -- "I'm not a reporter, all that stuff." This tells you that his motivation to share this gossip is simply to be able to potentially say if Belichick leaves and coaches somewhere else -- anywhere else -- he can say, "I knew that before anyone."
There are a few issues with Orlovsky's proclamation-that-wasn't-really-a-proclamation.
Before getting to those, we can state the obvious: Belichick could very well be done in New England after this season. The Patriots are 2-8, and they're a mediocre team since forcing Tom Brady out of the building in 2020. The team has made no forward progress, despite record spending in free agency one year. The draft has not delivered enough talent. And the on-field results this year -- losing on the day Brady was honored at halftime, losing in Germany, losing in prime time, getting blown out in Dallas, getting blown out at home by the Saints, losing to Josh McDaniels two weeks before he gets fired, etc. -- have reached the point of organizational embarrassment. That's why everyone -- rightfully -- is wondering what's coming next for Belichick.
At this point, Robert Kraft sticking with Belichick would be the more surprising conclusion to this sage.
That being said ... the chances that Belichick already has his next location selected? Very low.
The chances that Dan Orlovsky, of all people, is privy to that information, if it does somehow exist? Infinitely lower.
He even couched his "knowledge" a good deal when asked about his insight on a Boston radio interview.
"Yeah I think, you get, you -- I heard like a couple of different places that were potentially attached. They're not gonna be shocking to anybody, because they're places that have had kind of like question marks at the head coach attached to them this season I would say," Orlovsky said when asked specifically if he was told what Belichick's next destination would be. "So it's not all that -- again, if you sit down and say, what teams do we think at least maybe entertain moving on from their coach? It's not all that impossible to connect some dots."
Translated: Teams that might fire their coaches during this season or after this season might be interested in hiring Bill Belichick.
Not quite as juicy as the I-know-something-you-don't-know teaser from the McAfee show.
Understandably, people want to talk about this. Belichick is by far the most well-known coach in the sport, and his legend is immense. If he does move on to a new team next season, it will be a rather big deal. Dating back toabout his contract extension, this story became real, and it will remain that way until a resolution of some kind is reached.
But nobody knows where that would theoretically be. People certainly hear things, because people talk about things. But they don't know things. So they shouldn't purport to know things until they actually know things. It's not helping anybody to do otherwise.
We all know that won't happen, though, so it's best to prepare for a real journey through some scattered misinformation and partial facts being thrown around over the next couple of months. A discerning eye and ear can go a long way in getting through it.
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