When it was announced that the Patriots would be heading to Miami five days before their opening game of the season against Miami, the general reaction was that of surprise. It was not common practice for Bill Belichick to take the team that early to where their next game would be held as they generally would fly in the day before.
Accurate. Source says, barring change of plans, Tuesday the #Patriots will be wheels up to South Florida. https://t.co/9rTJJGTLlK — Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) August 31, 2022
But with so much on the line this season and their 0-2 record against the Dolphins last year, it appears Belichick and company have decided to take a different route this season.
Why did New England decide to fly down so much earlier than normal?
The early trip sent shockwaves through the New England media and in the Dolphins’ universe as well. Those who cover Boston sports can be quite brutal with their takes and their feelings regarding their early trip has been nothing less than harsh.
During his weekly appearance on WEEI radio, Belichick was asked for an explanation on why the decision was made to fly to Florida so early, He emphasized the weather as a key reason but also stated it forced them all to remain focused on their task ahead.
“I think it will give us a good chance just to focus on getting ready for the opening game, and get acclimated to the conditions, whatever they end up being down there.”
Several players would echo their coach’s statements throughout the week, as they know more than anyone how the weather impacts their performance in a game.
Mac Jones seemed to approve of the decision.
“I think it’s good. It’s getting used to your environment. Obviously flying, it’s nice to get there early and your body can rest a little bit. And you can kind of just do your normal week. Nothing really changes for us — have our meetings, have a good practice, and it’s the same thing the next day.”
Kyle Dugger was also on board to fly down early and felt it would be beneficial for the team all around.
“I think it will be huge, just getting there early and feeling it. Going out there, running around and kind of getting adjusted. The heat is what it is down there, so it’s not going to take long to get adjusted. I think it’s going to be super beneficial.”
The most noteworthy of reactions from players would be from former Dolphins player, Davon Godchaux. Having spent the first four seasons of his career in Miami, Godchaux understands the importance of getting acclimated to your surroundings in Florida.
“It’s very important. It can be raining or it can be hot, so it’s going to be very important to go down early to get the guys who haven’t been in the league, and haven’t played in Miami, accustomed to the weather.”
NFL media would have a field day for the next week and a half reacting to the news. They would spend hours trying to dissect the reasoning behind the decision as if what Belichick stated just couldn’t be true, and some of course would take a different approach and would insult the coach for his decision.
Dolphins fans and media took the early trip as an indication of fear from the Patriots for their matchup. But has Belichick ever given any indication of feeling fear for an opponent in his entire coaching career?
The reaction from most has proven to be a bit absurd. The Patriots are always a favorite target in not only the Boston media but also the national NFL media as well. This just seems like another instance of making something out of nothing simply because it’s Belichick and the Patriots. It’s clear the decision was made in good faith and players support the choice. Shouldn’t that be what matters most?