When the New England Patriots arrived back home after beating the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia -- a former Patriots player -- disembarked from the team plane wearing a Roger Goodell clown T-shirt as a swipe over the Deflategate controversy.
On Wednesday's episode of "The Herd," Colin Cowherd explained why Patricia made a huge mistake by not modeling his behavior after that of head coach Bill Belichick.
"Matt Patricia, the defensive coordinator, had a choice to make. Could I go Gronk, or could I go Belichick? Matt Patricia went Gronk and wore a shirt with a clown nose … and he wants to be an NFL head coach.
"Matt Patricia, who is a smart guy. He is, literally, a man who holds a degree in aeronautical engineering, i.e. rocket scientist. But he wasn't real smart there.
"If you're an NFL billionaire owner and you want to hire a head coach -- what he did there looks a lot like Rob Ryan, or maybe Rex. Belichick stayed on-brand, Gronk stayed on-brand. Matt Patricia had a choice, and that's the choice he made.
"Not great. Why can't Rob Ryan get a gig? Won't get a haircut? It matters, folks. It matters. Listen, Tom Brady's retiring as a Patriot. Gronk's retiring a Patriot, and Bill Belichick's probably retiring a Patriot. Matt Patricia's in a different spot in his life. Optics matter, choices matter, judgment matters.
"I think trolling Goodell is petty, and it feels like a small, local thing to do. Let's be honest, of the 50 states, 49 don't think the NFL is against the Patriots. That would be like Alabama claiming college football is against them. UConn women's basketball saying, 'Teally, the NCAA is against us.'
"Nobody thinks that outside of Boston. It's a local story more now than a national story. But Matt Patricia had a choice. He could have gone with [Belichick's brand], 'no days off,' he could have gone 'partying Gronk.' And the guy who wants a head coaching job went Gronk."