The Patriots are surely having a season to forget as they sit at 3-10 and in fourth place in the AFC East heading into Week 15. While they are looking to finish strong — aka. trying to avoid ruining their draft pick — there has been speculation on whether or not Belichick’s time will be coming to an end for New England. If the franchise does indeed decide to move on, it would be the end of quite the era of success.
Belichick took over as the head coach for New England in 2000 after the Pats traded a first-round pick to the New York Jets. He has been the head coach of the team for the last 24 seasons, amassing an overall 264-177 record with 18 playoff appearances and six Super Bowl victories.
What does this mean for the franchise?
Technically, the decision that has been made could be to keep Belichick. But let’s assume that the decision is that they will move on from Belichick. New England would conduct its first head coaching search in this century. The longest-tenured coach prior to Belichick, while the franchise was in New England, was Chuck Fairbanks from 1973 to 1978. If Belichick is indeed on the outs, it would likely bring a wave of something that Patriots fans haven’t dealt with in a generation: uncertainty.
The next coaching candidate could certainly turn out to be Belichick 2.0. However, it is likelier that they will likely be unable to capture the success that the Pats had for so long and could quickly draw the ire of fans if they don’t hit the ground running. We were used to the AFC East running through New England, but with the moves that the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins have made recently, there could be a string of down years on the horizon for the Patriots.
Would this be the right move?
You could argue either side of this being the right move. It’s hard to say that moving on from Belichick would be the right move, but his style of coaching doesn’t seem to be clicking with the offense. The actual personnel could be to blame, but at least another head coach could have the chance to infuse this team with some creativity and new ideas to see if they can turn in a quick rebuild.
The bad part of this idea would be just letting him walk away. Even at 71 years old, Belichick would likely garner a nice trade package, and there would be teams interested. It would be up to the future Hall of Fame head coach if he would want to try and prove something with another team, but I don’t think teams would ignore that phone call if they saw his name pop up for the caller ID.
Maybe it is recency bias of making the playoffs in 12 of the last 15 years, but I think New England would be better served getting a better quarterback under center and seeing what Belichick could do. They are projected to have a top pick in the 2024 draft. If they select a young quarterback, getting one year of Belichick to mentor the passer is not the worst thing for the Patriots to do. Plus, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported in October that Belichick had inked a lucrative, multi-season extension behind the scenes.