Looking out on the beautiful shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean in Nantucket, Massachusetts, sits a magnificent house with many rooms. But in one particular room on the left wall, there is a closet with a sturdy, wooden wardrobe. This isn’t some wardrobe that leads to the imaginative world of the late author C.S. Lewis, nor is it a wardrobe that houses the capes and lavish dresses of kings and queens. It’s a simple wardrobe that holds normal clothes.
Blue, red and gray hoodies, to be precise.
The hoodies themselves aren’t special at all. For the most part anyone could buy them at a local sports store. But there’s something different and simply sophisticated about this family of hoodies though. They belong to the Friar of Foxborough, the Guru of the Gridiron, the Hooded Hero himself: Bill Belichick.
In 2003, the National Football League entered into a deal with Reebok, forcing all coaches to wear Reebok gear on the sidelines every game. This may not seem like a big deal to the NFL coaching staffs or fans, but it changed the lives of this family of hoodies forever.
Belichick wears a hoodie every game, but he has them on rotation. It’s rare to see the same hoodie two games in a row. Some say he names them for his star players, but I’m here to tell you the truth.
Belichick names each hoodie after players he’s cut. Since so many people make Belichick out to be the Grinch who steals opposing team practice film, play-calling signals, air compressors, Super Bowls, Bill thought that naming sweatshirts after players who could no longer contribute to the success of the Patriots would be a kind, sentimental gesture to make sure they could be in on the fun as well.
Some hoodies have seen greatness. In 2003 and 2004, a veteran hoodie named Drew Bledsoe was picked to cover up Belichick’s torso in consecutive Super Bowl victories. It brought back sad memories for Bledsoe, who started for the Patriots before an injury allowed some sixth-round Michigan quarterback to take his place. When Bledsoe was returned to the wardrobe at the end of the 2004 Super Bowl, he was excited to have been selected to witness history, but he was still a bit salty that he had to watch his former backup celebrate.
At least that’s better than what happened to the Deion Branch hoodie, who returned to tell the worst horror story ever, after what was supposed to be a painless week one victory turned into a gut wrenching ACL tear. The Asante Samuel hoodie had a rough life, too, getting thrown inside-out on the cold, closet carpet after some guy named David Tyree helped end the Patriots hopes of a perfect season in 2008.
For better or for worse, the hoodies have seen it all. Although many moments are spent in the dark closet, on select Sundays in the fall and winter, the hoodies get to witness the spectacular. They’ve seen animals of all sizes and colors, including teal and orange dolphins, blue buffaloes and, their new personal favorite, red falcons. They’ve flown on jets and have knocked Jets out of the playoff picture. The lucky few have even been in on the league’s juiciest secrets like “Spy-gate” and “Deflate-gate.” Just like in any family, there are some that are loved more than others. Some have been drenched in rain, others have been dismembered and have lost their sleeves forever due to sunny September Sundays in Miami.
Though there have been good times and bad, each hoodie knows that in the end, it’s way better to be a Bill Belichick hoodie than a Rex Ryan sweater-vest, a Dan Quinn polo shirt or especially an Andy Reid windbreaker.