Bill Belichick is an extreme rarity among American football coaches in that he has previously identified as a Democrat. He has not been terribly vocal about this, in much the same way that he is not terribly vocal about anything.
He wouldn't be as dove-ish or as leftish as the Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who questioned an army general about whether the 9/11 attacks were "real" and outlined his own solution for a peaceful end to the Iraq war. But Belichick has mumbled his support for the Democratic party.
The wackiest presidential election of them all has messed about with prior political allegiances, and we don't just mean moderate Republicans who find Trump a bit too coarse and frightening.
Trump glides so freely among the sporting elite that he has attracted the endorsements of many who might never before have trumpeted their support of the Republican party.
Last night, at a rally in New Hampshire, the candidate yelped that he had won the support of both Belichick and Tom Brady.
I thought I'd give you this information. They've told me I can do it. So, I will do it. Tom Brady, great guy, great friend of mine, great, great champion, unbelievable winner. He called today and he said "Donald, I support you. You're my friend. And I voted for you."
Then the coach.
"I was in the plane and they handed me a letter and it was from coach Belichick. And he wrote me the most beautiful letter. So, we called him back and said 'Do you think Mr. Trump could read that letter to the people of New Hampshire?' And he said "absolutely, if you like. But do me a favour, don't read that letter, let me write you another one."
He read out the 'revised' letter he said Belichick wrote him.
It turns out that Belichick is as fond of the the word "tremendous" as Trump is.
Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media and have come out beautifully. You've proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable. Hopefully tomorrow's election results will give the opportunity to make America great again.
Best wishes for great results tomorrow,
Given that Trump doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie, we are obviously unable to take such claims at face value.
Also, from our brief canvas of Ireland's large constituency of New England Patriots fans, there is some dismay and disbelief at the news.
Is the letter real? Well, we're not sure whether even Trump would be audacious enough to invent such a letter out of thin air.
However, it's quite hard to imagine Belichick turning out something so embarrassingly fulsome in it's praise. The letter sounds suspiciously like something that Trump would produce.
We might speculate that the Trump campaign presented the wording to Belichick and he said "fine", though we have no proof this is what happened.
Journalist Hunter Walker contacted Belichick twice and has yet to get a response beyond the promise of a response later on.
Bill Belichick just hung up on me.
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) November 8, 2016
As I asked about the letter Belichick said "I'll get back to you later" and hung up. He has not answered a followup text.
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) November 8, 2016
Damningly, eight months ago, Belichick and his wife Linda Holliday dined with Trump in Florida. Holliday posted this on Instagram.
We would appear to have proof. Trump isn't bullshitting just this one time. The Patriots have confirmed to a local station that Bill Belichick did indeed write the letter.
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) November 8, 2016
What of Tommy?
The claim that Brady phoned up Trump and told him that he voted for him appears to be a fabrication.
Brady is famously an owner of a 'Make America Great Again' baseball cap and considers Trump a friend who has done "amazing things." But he hasn't said anything about the Trump campaign since the Republican primary.
He told WEEI (a Boston sports radio station) this morning that he hasn't voted yet. It also transpires that his 'voter registration is inactive'. He promised the station that he'd reveal who he'd voted for next week.
Also, on instagram a few days ago, Gisele Bundchen replied to a random follower who asked whether she and Tom were backing Trump.
She said "No." In fact, she said "NO!"
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) November 8, 2016