New England Patriots: Is it Time for Bill Belichick to Retire?

The New England Patriots finished off their season missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. It was just the fourth time since Bill Belichick has been the head coach with the organization. It was a year of transition since quarterback Tom Brady decided to move on and play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was a year in which Cam Newton was tackled inside the five with a chance to beat the Seahawks, but then picked up COVID-19, missing a game in Kansas City, and really did not look the same from the Denver game from then on. There wasn’t a lot of help at the wide receiver position, and that is why this team finished 7-9, third-place in the AFC East. With six Super Bowl championships as New England’s skipper having accomplished everything there is to do in professional football, it poses this question, is it time for Bill Belichick to step down and call it quits?

Is it time for Bill Belichick to retire?

Bill Belichick has been in the coaching business for decades, tracing back to 1975, and while last year was unpleasant, I think he wants to atone for this past year. The human condition is wired that ego can play a role in sports. While he may not say it, I do think he is motivated to be successful in the post-Tom Brady era. While Brady is having success in Tampa, Bill wants to prove that his adaptable style continues to translate into wins on the field, and so he continues to work on his craft. In this Brady-Belichick discussion, I think they both needed each other to succeed. To me, football is still a team sport and it cannot be done alone. 

In many ways, he has already proven he can win even without the services of the Hall of Famer to be. His defensive game plan while working as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants against the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV went into the Hall of Fame, and he was part of another in 1986, both under Bill Parcells. One year after getting the Cleveland Browns to eleven wins in 1994, then Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell decided to move the team, and Bill would no longer coach there following a 5-11 campaign. After briefly becoming the New York Jets head coach, he took the same position with the New England Patriots in 2000, and the rest is history after winning Super Bowl XXXVI in February of 2002. 

Another factor in why I do not think Bill Belichick is not done coaching is what is he going to do? Football is what he does and he does not have an off switch, meaning that he is always searching for any small edge he can get over an opponent. He was at one of the champions parades that kept yelling “No Days Off!” repeatedly. His relentless style does not sound like a guy ready to stop and sit back and reflect on the past. Even with his stoic personality, particularly around the media, there is a carrot hovering over his head pushing him to be better every single day. 

Even if he makes the announcement at a press conference to step down or got fired, I think he likes it too much that he would not work somewhere else. With that being said, his son Stephen is on the coaching staff who worked with outside linebackers this past fall, and Brian, his other son, became the safeties coach prior to this 2020-21 season. From a family standpoint, he gets to have that father/son relationship. If I had to take a guess, he will coach until one or both of his kids become a head coach, and he finishes his coaching career as the head coach at the U.S. Naval Academy before he retires in 2030, which would be before he becomes an octogenarian. 

Conclusion

I think it is premature to say that he cannot reload and get the Patriots back winning again. I don’t think he is likely to have another Hall of Fame quarterback ever again. He may not even come close to winning a seventh Super Bowl as a head coach in Foxboro, but the drive to win is still engrained in him. It’s why he keeps coming back for more. I don’t think it’s in his DNA to quit, so why should it start now. 

How do you feel about Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots? Leave a comment below.

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Works cited: NFL app, The Two Bills (ESPN), Wikipedia – Bill Belichick

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