When Bill Belichick made his first trade of the 2009 draft, trading the Patriots' 23rd overall pick to the Ravens to move down three spots while grabbing their fifth round pick, little did the little people realize what he was really trying to do.
The evil genius' twisted plot did not start coming into focus until about the fifteenth time he traded down. But, by the end of the first day, he had captured over half of the draft's seventh round.
By the end of the fifth round, another fifteen trades later, Belichick and his Patriots had accomplished something no other coach had ever accomplished...he captured an entire round of a draft, locking up every pick of this year's seventh round, while picking up an additional 15 seventh round picks in next year's draft and three more in 2015.
The Pats finally made their first selection of the draft in the middle of the sixth round before making all 32 picks in the seventh round.
Sportswriters rushed to be the first to congratulate Belichick on his audacity and brilliance. The words "genius" and "Belichick" appeared together in 3,437 sports columns. Apparently, no other team has the brilliance to move down so often or so effectively...only Belichick can pull off a strategy of that magnitude.
Said one commentator at the draft, "He operates at a whole 'nother level. Nobody else comes close. You have Belichick and the Patriots...and then everybody else. And the gap between them is growing wider." Accolades like that were repeated endlessly for days.
Not everyone was happy. Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter denounced what he is calling "Draftgate" and called for a full congressional investigation regardless of the cost. He has demanded the full tape of the draft and has already issued a subpoena to the NFL commissioner.
"First you had Spygate, now you have draftgate. This will not be allowed to stand," declared Specter.
One sports writer had the audacity to question Bellichik's draft day wisdom, pointing out that New England did not have enough roster spots for all of these picks and questioning whether 47 low-round prospects are really worth the potential impact players that were given up to get them.
Belichick put up his hood and glared at him. It was the kind of glare that says, "You're just not that smart and don't deserve an answer from the likes of me." Some people just don't get genius when they see it.
Belichick did express one regret. One of the players he was targeting with one of his later seventh round picks, Mel Kiper's 77th ranked safety from football juggernaut Ohio University, was scooped up by the shrewd Al Davis in the second round, ensuring Belichick couldn't get his hands on him. I guess you can't win them all, even if you are a genius.