The Patriots and Jets kick off in ugly conditions at Foxboro in a few minutes — but enough about Fred Smerlas’ snowplowing skills. The Boston Globe’s Jim McCabe points out the Hooded Casanova’s “midfield meeting and handshake with New York’s Eric Mangini – his onetime protÃ©gÃ© – that will elicit more scrutiny than anything that happened on the field.” Unless of course, Gang Green pulls off the upset.
“High-fives? I really haven’t thought too much about that [or even] cartwheels,” said Belichick, breaking into a rare grin.
From his perspective, Mangini said, “I don’t expect to do anything outside the norm that I do every game with every head coach that I play against.”
Which is shake hands, almost on cue. It strikes some old-time NFL guys as strange.
“Bill doesn’t have to do it,” said Bud Grant. “But he knows he’ll be vilified if he doesn’t.”
During a Hall of Fame coaching career with the Minnesota Vikings that garnered four Super Bowl appearances and 11 division titles, Grant never wavered.
“I never shook Halas’s hand or Lombardi’s hand after a game. That was my volition.”
“You were expected to play out there, to work up a certain lather against the other team,” he said. “If you were in a fight and when the fight was over, if you lost and you could be happy, then I believe you didn’t get prepared for the fight. I don’t believe you can change colors that quickly. You can’t be a chameleon.”
Like Lombardi and Halas, Grant said he would cross paths with the opposing coach before the game, “but I’d tell him, ‘After the game I’m not going to shake hands.’ “
“I didn’t see [Colts coach] Weeb Ewbank cross the field to shake [Giants coach] Jim Lee Howell’s hand at the end of the OT game,” said Ernie Accorsi, referring to the legendary 1958 NFL Championship game won by Baltimore.
“George Allen never shook a coach’s hand after the game. I know that,” said longtime NFL general manager Ron Wolf, whose sentiment is echoed from a Dallas perspective because Gil Brandt saw things similarly when he worked with another NFL coaching icon.
“Tom Landry didn’t feel he had to go across the field to shake hands,” said the Cowboys’ longtime director of player personnel.