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THE PATRIOT

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A PROFILE IN COURAGE

[inside the offices of the NFL’s New England Patriots]

BRET BIELEMA: I’m really grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get to work on achieving this organization’s goals.

BILL BELICHICK: Yeah, well. Sure. Whatever. Welcome aboard, I guess. So, the bathroom’s down the hall to the left, and we’ll have someone find you a desk, I guess.

BIELEMA: Excellent. And when is the invasion expected?

BELICHICK: The what?

BIELEMA: The British.

BELICHICK: Huh? No, we didn’t get sucked into doing any London games this year.

BIELEMA: [looks around furtively, lowers voice to a whisper] Are we being recorded?

BELICHICK: I mean... yes, but only by me, I- I don’t understand, Bret, what are you even asking about?

BIELEMA: Blink twice if the operation has been compromised.

BELICHICK: I haven’t blinked since 2002.

BIELEMA: Bill, listen, you hired me as a Patriot Consultant, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to defend this country from those fish-frying bastards. But I’m concerned. I’ve been studying up on them, and they’re a highly advanced opponent.

BELICHICK: Wait, wait... Bret, you know this is a football team, right?

BIELEMA: [nodding, winking] It’s the perfect cover story. The enemy doesn’t think to look there. It’s not even a sport they play, so they won’t look close enough to see that it’s a counterimperialist insurgent force. I used something similar during Operation Razorback.

BELICHICK: You... you coached at Arkansas.

BIELEMA: I infiltrated the feral hog population. Learned their ways. Became one of them. If needed, I can live off the land for years, foraging for roots and destroying farm crops. But that was child’s play compared to what we’re facing now. These British, they’re like nothing I’ve seen ever before. They’re indistinguishable from Americans; they’ve learned to speak nearly-flawless English. And I’ve done some deep reconnaissance: it appears they’ve developed miniaturization of people. [flops glossy surveillance photo on desk]

BELICHICK: This is a picture of Prince George.

BIELEMA: I believe they’re planning to use them to sneak into our ductwork, pipelines, and trash chutes.

BELICHICK: That’s a five-year-old child.

BIELEMA: At age five I was involved in the recapture of the SS Mayaguez.

BELICHICK: Listen, Bret - I’m appreciative of your work at both Wisconsin and Arkansas. The way you’ve turned football into a brutal, joyless machine. Watching your teams was like watching a glacier crush a Ford Fiesta. And honestly, we’re mostly on autopilot here - that’s why I like to bring on coaches whose work I’ve respected and let them sort of coast to a paycheck.

BIELEMA: [winking] Got it. Loud and clear.

BELICHICK: I want you to say, out loud, “I understand that the New England Patriots are not waging asymmetric warfare against agents of the British Empire.”

BIELEMA: I’ve developed a series of weapons.

BELICHICK: [sighing, placing forehead on desk]

BIELEMA: Do you want to see them?

BELICHICK: [sitting back up] I... sure, what the hell.

BIELEMA: [places ham on desk] This is a ham.

BELICHICK: I see that.

BIELEMA: But it’s no ordinary ham. It’s been injected with a powerful explosive, activated by boiling water. You grill it, roast it, fry it? Completely inert. You drop it into hot water? It’s the Fourth of July, Nigel.

BELICHICK: Aren’t the explosives poisonous?

BIELEMA: [unintelligible, mouth full of ham]

BELICHICK: Anyways, that’s rather clever, I’ll admit, but-

BIELEMA: [reaching into box] NEXT INVENTION.

BELICHICK: That appears to be a jock strap.

BIELEMA: All part of the football cover story. It’s also a gun holster and a single-serving beer cooler. We don’t want our boys out in the field unarmed and unrefreshed.

BELICHICK: I don’t see how anyone could wear that.

[a muffled gunshot can be heard from inside Bret’s pants]

BIELEMA: [retrieves a Bud Light, leaking from a bullethole in the side, from his pants. He drinks from the bullet hole]

BELICHICK: I see.

BIELEMA: [places party sub on desk]

BELICHICK: Is this also explosives?

BIELEMA: That’s my lunch.

BELICHICK: Ah.

BIELEMA: [places explosives on desk] Now, when the British land, we’re going to need a way to stop their tanks. But I’ve uncovered a key weakness. They drive on the left. So we just booby-trap the left lanes of all of our roads. That way, they can’t get in.

BELICHICK: But- the left lane going in one direction is the right lane going in the opposite direction.

BIELEMA: I don’t follow.

[an explosion can be heard from the street outside]

BELICHICK: Nevermind.

BIELEMA: But really, if they’ve made landfall here, we’ve already lost. What’s going to be key to winning this war is stopping them before they get here. Now, as you’ve seen, they’re a wiry, small people. They can sneak through traditional barricades. This fella? Can walk right through a chain-link fence. [produces picture of Benedict Cumberbatch] But we’ve got something they don’t. Something that can form an impenetrable barrier.

BELICHICK: What’s that?

BIELEMA: Ass.

BELICHICK: Ass?

BIELEMA: [unfurls schematic]

THIS IMAGE RESTS ON THE PREMISE THAT BRET IS ALSO BAD AT PHOTOSHOP

A seawall of ass, from Maine to the Florida Keys. It’s what I’ve spent my entire career building toward, and with your resources, I think we can finally build it. It’s going to take dozens, even hundreds of men - but I’m confident this country has enough ass to do it.

BELICHICK: Bielema, you’re mad.

BIELEMA: [nodding] Mad about freedom. Mad about this country. Mad about ass.

BELICHICK: Dammit, Bielema... you’ve got it. I’m throwing the full resources of the New England Patriots behind this operation. But if this goes wrong, Bret -

BIELEMA: Yes, sir?

BELICHICK: It’s your ass on the line.