FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick had spent about 20 minutes answering questions from reporters about football schemes, physical and mental toughness, and his team's upcoming opponent, the Baltimore Ravens. His Wednesday morning news conference was set to end.
But before it did, veteran radio man Alan Segel -- who serves as a "SportsCenter" update anchor at ESPN Radio -- asked a question unrelated to anything that had been discussed: the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
A noted student of history who has strong ties to the Naval Academy, Belichick nodded his head and was more than pleased to share his thoughts. When it was over, he looked back to Segel, thanked him, and mentioned that he was appreciative that the topic was broached.
Patriots Wednesday media schedule: Bill Belichick presser (9a), locker-room access (12p), practice (1p). pic.twitter.com/LyAlO1QlWf
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 7, 2016
"Pretty big day in our history, certainly in Naval history," Belichick had said. "For me, the lesson on Pearl Harbor, and for us as a team and individually I would say is not what happened on December 7th, although that was a lesson there. [It is] what the response was from our nation, from our military, from our civilians, from our population to battle the world on two fronts and win both of them. What this country did under Roosevelt's leadership, as well as multiple military leaders -- to go fight in Europe, to go fight in Southeast Asia and Japan. The response to what happened on December 7th, 1941 is pretty impressive.
"I remember my dad talking a lot about that when it happened, when he found out, when he went to the Navy and Great Lakes and eventually went to Europe and eventually went to Okinawa. It was a tough time for this country but it was a great example of the patriotism of our citizens, fighting together, pulling together and being victorious in a lot of different ways.
"A special day, one we hope we don't have to see again. A tough day for the Navy, though, but they responded. They bounced back. The Battle at Midway, that was really a huge turning point. Had that not gone the way it did, I don't know. It could have been a longer fight."