‘The Zo’ Relishes Being the Belichick Whisperer

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Scott Zolak during his weekly radio show. Zolak, a former Patriots backup quarterback, is popular with fans who know he has a direct line to Coach Bill Belichick. M. Scott Brauer for The New York Times

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Scott Zolak was joking around with a video crew at Gillette Stadium one morning last week when Bill Belichick walked in.

Immediately, they snapped to their posts, and work began on the weekly video program for the Patriots’ website. In the show, Belichick, the team’s frequently dour coach, cheerfully takes questions from Zolak, and the two break down recent plays using a device they call the Belistrator.

The program can be fascinating, mostly for the insight into the mind of a football genius like Belichick, but also because he has chosen to share them with Zolak, a perpetually gregarious, willfully goofy former backup quarterback who started only seven games in seven seasons with the Patriots.

On this day, Belichick and Zolak examined plays from the Patriots’ A.F.C. championship game victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, a win that sent the Patriots to their eighth Super Bowl under Belichick.

On the surface, Belichick’s weekly date with Zolak is an odd pairing. The understated and sometimes gruff Belichick is widely considered the smartest person ever to lay eyes on a strip of game film. Zolak is best known for his rollicking sense of humor, his loyalty to his old team and his passionate radio calls.

Source: The New York Times