New England Patriots football coach Bill Belichick is not necessarily known for being the most welcoming fellow. But Palmer Murphy had an idea.
“I drew a picture and I showed it to some people,” the Westerly, Rhode Island, sculptor says. “Usually they say, “You’re crazy.’ This time they said, ‘We know you’re crazy.’”
The idea was for a door knocker resembling the notoriously taciturn coach.
Murphy has made a lot of sports sculptures and toy soldiers over the years, as well as a a doorstop in the shape of the twins from “The Shining” and a “Madoff piggy bank with a fake plug in the bottom. You couldn’t get your money out of it.”
“For some reason I was always interested in things that were functional,” Murphy says. “I had seen one of the version of ‘The Christmas Carol.’” He was struck by the Jacob Marley door knocker that comes magically to life. “That always impressed me—to have a face on the door.” While that idea was rolling around in his head, he saw some shots of Belichick.
“The hoodie is a natural frame,” Murphy says. And the coach’s headset mic could be the knocker. “I got the references and the profiles and looking at the television documentaries. … I thought it was going to be a caricature, but as I got into it, I thought I better be as realistic as I can.”
“It took about 80 hours,” he says. Then he had it cast in bronze at Sincere Metal Works in Chelsea.
“He’s known for that less than welcoming expression,” Murphy says of Belichick. “It’s not hard to find pictures of him with that expression—an intense, baleful look, a glower.”
“If there’s something funny about it, I guess that’s the thing,” he says. “So you can ward off the aluminum siding salesman.’
“I’m told it’s supposed to go up on EBay” through the Super Bowl, Murphy says. “It’s the artist’s proof. You can’t sell more than one. We’ll see what kind of interest there might be.”