Morning Sports Update

Bill Belichick surprised WBZ’s Steve Burton by wishing him a happy birthday

The latest version of a preseason tradition took an unexpectedly mirthful turn.

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick prior to Thursday's preseason game against the Giants. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Red Sox defeated the Orioles 4-3 on Thursday. Boston now hosts the Yankees for a three-game series starting tonight at 7:10 p.m.

Also on Thursday, the Patriots opened the preseason with a 23-21 loss to the Giants at Gillette Stadium. Mac Jones and most of New England’s starters did not play in the game.

Bill Belichick’s interview with Steven Burton: Though the football in preseason games isn’t always worthy of attention, the halftime interview between Bill Belichick and Steve Burton has grown a loyal audience over the years.

Burton, a WBZ-TV reporter, has for years held the responsibility of conducting a mid-game sideline interview with Belichick.


In most cases, it has produced a more predictable response from the Patriots’ coach. In 2019, for example, Belichick offered particularly terse answers to Burton’s questions about wide receiver Josh Gordon’s reinstatement in the NFL:

Going back over the years, other examples have dotted Patriots preseason history.

Then, in 2021, Belichick made literal headlines by being “downright pleasant” to Burton during their interview.

But the interview between the two on Thursday topped them all. At the end of a short post-halftime discussion, Belichick closed by wishing Burton a happy birthday and flashing a smile (not an event that happens often during a season).

“That must be one heck of a birthday for Steve Burton,” Patriots television analyst Scott Zolak said afterward.

And in the postgame scene, ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss joked with Burton by mimicking Belichick.

Trivia: Bill Belichick has shown his lighthearted side on a few occasions. One came during the 1990s when (as head coach of the Browns) he made an appearance on a Cleveland sports comedy show called “Sports Mock Live.” What type of sandwich did Belichick teach viewers how to make during his segment?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Belichick altered the sandwich’s famous abbreviation to include his initials.


More from

Eric Hosmer’s game-deciding RBI: The new Red Sox first baseman hit a shot to the deepest part of Fenway Park, allowing J.D. Martinez to make it all the way around from first base to score the go-ahead run.

A nice touchdown on Thursday for Lil’Jordan Humphrey:

On this day: In 1995, Dominique Wilkins left the Celtics to sign a two-year contract with Greek team Panathinaikos worth $7 million.

Dominique Wilkins Celtics

Daily highlight: Loic Billaut dove to make the catch for the U.S. team in the World Junior Ultimate Frisbee Championships.

Trivia answer: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (The “BBPBJ“)


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on