Jim O'Donnell: Adaptive genius of Belichick provides a lesson for windy cities everywhere

  • New England coach Bill Belichick walks the sideline during the Patriots' win Monday night in Buffalo.

    New England coach Bill Belichick walks the sideline during the Patriots' win Monday night in Buffalo. Associated Press

Updated 12/8/2021 2:37 PM

AT ITS CORE, the National Football League is a band of illusion.

Gambling houses hang a point spread on a game. Officiating crews generally hold audience into the fourth quarter. Someone wins.


Some speculators even cash.

Monday night in Buffalo, on ESPN, that old feller' "organicness" actually came into play.

IN THE MOST FASCINATING TELECAST of the season, Mother Nature and Bill Belichick combined to produce a game that would have made even the demanding ghost of Paul Brown mildly beam.

With wind gusts up to 55 mph blasting Highmark Stadium, Belichick's Patriots ran the ball 46 times, threw three passes all night long and powered past the horizontaling Bills 14-10.

It was totally adaptive genius at work.

BELICHICK STOPPED SHORT of resorting to the flying wedge.

But he never put on gloves during the knuckle-frosting three hours.

And he rarely wavered from the perma-dour demeanor that suggests a father who just received a text that his teen son had T-boned the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid of an attorney's wife in a Chick-fil-A parking lot.

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FROM A DISTANCE, it's normally very hard to root for a Belichick team.

This year, it's getting to the point that it's hard not to root that rookie QB Mac Jones and the resourceful Pats make a deep postseason run.

Down to the most woebegone franchises in the league, Belichick is proving that enduring smarts adjusts.

Even against the wind.

STREET-BEATIN': If George McCaskey signs off on the decision to allow Justin Fields to start in frigid-air Green Bay Sunday night, he is no longer of sufficient executive acuity to serve as chairman of the civic trust doing business as "The Chicago Bears." Very simple -- next mind up. ...

Tricky tasking for Billy Donovan: Does he once again trim the minutes of Ayo Dosunmu when Coby White returns from COVID protocols? (It says here "no"; "My-oh Ayo" is providing a whole different kind of puppy energy.) ...

The Bulls' rough COVID business has also hit broadcast row: Stacey King missed the breakthrough Monday night win over Denver and Bill Wennington moved over from radio to work alongside Adam Amin. Chuck Swirsky was solo on WSCR-AM (670). ...


The Algonquin Area Public Library presents Cheryl Raye-Stout of WBEZ-FM (91.5) in a special Zoomer "Believe It: The 2016 World Series Cubs" Thursday at 7 p.m. (Register at aapld.libnet.info). The ultimate Chicago sports insider has AWAC ears and encyclopedic recall. ...

The Cooperstown call to heirs of Minnie Minoso recalls when son Orestes Arrieta Jr. was playing basketball for Evanston High. Junior was OK at twinin' but possessed enough diamond pedigree to get an invite to Ewing Kauffman's pioneering Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy. ...

Chatter about the possible retirement of Dan Roan is giving the WGN-Channel 9 sportscaster the most publicity he's had since he arrived in town 37 years ago. (Some colleagues have long insisted Roan is merely Corey McPherrin with better lighting.) ...

FOX's Jenny Taft left 'em smiling when she confirmed her pregnancy during the third quarter of Michigan's 42-3 romp 'n roller over Iowa for the Big Ten title. Husband is ex-NHL puck o' coffee Matt Gilroy; Taft has been picking up huge points nationally in recent months for standing up to the dismissive bullying of no-schtick Skip Bayless on "Undisputed." ...

Far below the dealing and wheeling, Neil Bluhm and Greg Carlin might want to have BetRivers staff check on what's been going haywire with their website's Geo Locator. It's not a good time of the year to shoo away legal sports gaming money. ...

Lindsey Willhite notes that Chicago Wolves Valhalla mates Gene Ubriaco and Bob Nardella will be inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame Friday night in Rosemont. The grand Ubriaco is seasoned enough to remember when Freddie Glover ruled the AHL for the old Cleveland Barons. ...

Ardent Dan Patrick followers are still buzzing about his recent Peacock dicing of Brian Kelly after the golden roamer's jump to LSU. Patrick was fair, firm and fun; Kelly came across with all the plausibility of a Comcast phone rep trying to justify a random overbilling. ...

And markedly finite social media tempest last weekend while Lucas Williamson and Loyola were beating host DePaul 68-64: The Ramblers apparently stayed standing in line as the color guard marched off after the national anthem while the Blue Demons disengaged when the music was completed. (How would replay official Francis Scott Key have ruled?)

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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