Bill Belichick, who won six Super Bowls alongside Tom Brady, is on his way out as head coach of the New England Patriots.
After 24 seasons, the most decorated coach in Patriots history is expected to part ways with the club, according to ESPN. Belichick was expected to meet with team owner Robert Kraft this week to discuss his future.
The move has not been made officially by the team yet, but it was expected following the Patriots’ disastrous 4-13 campaign. Patriots spokespeople did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for confirmation.
Belichick’s future in coaching, as well as his likely replacement in New England, remain unclear at this time.
Interestingly, Belichick’s departure comes a day after Pete Carroll’s with the Seattle Seahawks and Nick Saban’s at Alabama. Belichick actually replaced Carroll in New England in 2000 and employed Saban as a defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in the 1990s.
After 24 seasons, Bill Belichick is on his way out as head coach of the New England Patriots
Belichick smiles alongside Tom Brady after beating the Browns for his 100th victory in 2019
Belichick (left in 2012) and Patriots owner Robert Kraft (right) were expected to meet this week
Belichick is, of course, the only person to coach the Patriots this millennium.
It was in January of 2000 that Belichick famously had his one-day stint as Jets head coach, inheriting the job from his mentor, Bill Parcells, only to abruptly resign over the team’s uncertain ownership situation as Woody Johnson was in the process of buying the franchise.
Three months later, as Patriots head coach, Belichick drafted a Michigan quarterback named Tom Brady in the sixth round, inserted him into the starting lineup for the injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001, and promptly captured the first of six Lombardi Trophies.
The 71-year-old Belichick ranks third among NFL coaches in regular-season victories with 302 – just 26 behind the leader Don Shula, who won only two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins after failing to do so with the Baltimore Colts.
But even without the NFL record for wins, Belichick’s resume within the league is unparalleled.
A three-time AP Coach of the Year, Belichick was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s and 2010s, as well as the league’s 10th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Including his time as Parcells’ defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, Belichick has a record eight Super Bowl rings.
Furthermore, he holds head-coaching records for most Super Bowl wins (six), Super Bowl appearances (nine), playoff wins (31), playoff appearances (19) and divisional titles (17).
In fact, Belichick has missed the postseason only 10 times in 29 years as a head coach: four of his five dismal seasons with the Cleveland Browns, and six more times in New England.
What’s more, Belichick missed the playoffs only once with a healthy Brady, who abandoned his long-time coach before the 2020 season to sign with Tampa Bay, where he won his seventh Super Bowl title as a player.
Belichick was the Jets coach for one day before resigning in 2000 and joining the Patriots
(Left) Belichick is pictured in 1993 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, where one fan is seen holding a ‘BILL MUST GO’ sign. (Right) Belichick is seen with mentor Bill Parcells in 1995
And therein lies the debate over Belichick’s accomplishments: For all of his success as a head coach, Belichick’s Super Bowl wins all came with, arguably, the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
‘Tom Brady was the only reason you won anyway,’ former Jets coach and current ESPN analyst Rex Ryan said of Belichick in November. ‘I said from jump, they would never win again when that guy trotted down to Tampa.’
Ryan did walk his criticism back somewhat at the time.
‘Bill Belichick — greatest in history,’ continued Ryan, who was 9-3 against Belichick all time. ‘I will never dispute that. I had my ass kicked by him a million times.
‘But if you think for a minute that it wasn’t about Tom Brady, you’re absolutely crazy.’
‘Look at his record without Tom,’ former Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel said in July. ‘You’ve got to win without Tom. One thing I learned about being great is you got to be great in different situations. It was all Tom. I was there. I saw it. It was Tom. Everybody knows it.’
For his part, Brady has remained publicly loyal to Belichick, whom he referred to in November as ‘the best coach… in the history of the game.’
‘The thought of him not being in New England is hard for me to think about,’ said the 46-year-old retiree.
Ex-Jets & Bills coach Rex Ryan says he believes Bill Belichick’s success is due to Tom Brady
But not even their shared success could keep Brady in Foxborough, where rumors of animosity between the two began surfacing in 2017.
At the time, ESPN and other outlets were reporting that Belichick had banned Brady’s personal fitness guru and business partner, Alex Guerrero, from the sidelines after he came into conflict with the team’s training staff.
Other rumors surfaced too, including one that Belichick was eager to replace the aging Brady with his backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, only to trade the young quarterback to the San Francisco 49ers during the 2017 season.
The exact truth is hard to pin down, particularly given Belichick’s notorious aversion to sharing details with the press.
But whether this was the case with Brady or not, Belichick has developed a reputation for wearing out those around him.
‘This team plays like they’re exhausted,’ Ryan said on ESPN of the current incarnation of the Patriots. ‘And the Patriots way, that’s it. It exhausts these kids.
‘Because I know how draining that is to these kids,’ Ryan continued. ‘And that is what you’re facing right now.’
Parcells (left) and the Giants had one of the NFL’s best defenses under coordinator Belichick
Parcells and Belichick also worked together in New England, reaching Super Bowl XXI in 1997
Speaking of his four-year stint with the Patriots in the early 2010s, linebacker Brandon Spikes wrote on social media: ‘4 years a slave.’
‘It was just kind of hard, one of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him,’ former Patriots receiver Wes Welker told Sports Illustrated of Belichick in 2013. ‘But he does it to everybody, it’s the way he is.’
‘It’s not easy, that’s for sure,’ former Patriots receiver Danny Amendola told ESPN in 2018. ‘He’s an a**hole sometimes. There were a lot of things I didn’t like about playing for him, but I must say, the things I didn’t like were all in regards to getting the team better, and I respected him.
‘It wasn’t easy, and he’d be the first to admit, at the [Super Bowl] ring ceremony, that it wasn’t easy playing for him.’
New England Patriots fans hold up a sign supporting head coach Bill Belichick in 2014
Some Patriots fans still support Belichick, including this man, who is pictured on December 24
Belichick’s critics are also quick to point to Spygate, the 2007 scandal that resulted in a $500,000 for the disgraced head coach and the lost of a first-round draft pick in 2008.
Fittingly, the claim that the Patriots were illegally filming opponents’ sidelines in hopes of deciphering coaches’ signals originated in 2008 with the Jets and his former pupil, then-New York head coach Eric Mangini.
It also served to tarnish Belichick’s reputation after it was claimed that the Patriots allegedly filmed opposing coaches on 40 occasions, not that the head coach seemed to care very much.
‘A guy is giving signals in front of 80,000 people, OK?’ Belichick said in 2015. ‘So we filmed them taking signals in front of 80,000 people — like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too. Forget about that. If we were wrong, we’ve been disciplined for that.
‘We never did it again,’ he added. ‘We’re never going to do it again. Anything else that’s close, we’re not going to do either.’
Of course, Patriots were again caught filming an opponents’ sideline in 2019 (this time, Cincinnati’s), and although the team’s intentions and Belichick’s involvement are unclear, New England was docked a third-round pick and fined $1.1 million.
Tom Brady gets a hug from head coach Bill Belichick after Super Bowl win over the Seahawks
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick enjoys his second Super Bowl victory in 2004
Bill Belichick isn’t really known for his range of emotions, as one can tell from this banner
Belichick shakes hands with his former pupil, Eric Mangini, who later became Bill’s nemesis
But the allegations can’t completely take away from Belichick’s litany of accomplishments, which include a myriad of shrewd personnel decisions, as well as some gutsy play calls from the sideline.
Most famously, Belichick sent his players on a game-winning drive with 1:21 remaining in Super Bowl XXXVI rather than taking a knee at the Patriots’ 17-yard line and playing for overtime. As a result of the risky move, New England kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on the game-winning 48-yard field goal at the end of regulation for the team’s first NFL title.
Belichick is seen in 1998, when he served as Jets defensive coordinator under Parcells
Belichick also has a talent for finding new roles for players, famously moving linebacker Mike Vrabel to tight end in goal-line situations and using wide receiver Troy Brown as a defensive back in New England’s injury ravaged secondary in 2004.
And, for better or worse, he’s cultivated a reputation as ‘Boring Bill,’ the miserable head coach who is only interested in his team’s next game.
He coined the phrase ‘on to Cincinnati’ in 2014 as a tactic to shut down uncomfortable questions following a blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Even last week, with the Patriots’ dismal season coming to an end, Belichick maintained the same tune.
‘I’m looking forward to working, getting ready for the Jets,’ Belichick repeatedly told reporters over the last few days.
Among his contemporaries, Belichick will be remembered as one of the greatest football coaches ever, regardless of whether or not he needed Brady in order to win.
‘He’s transcended the sport just in terms of how they prepare, their in-game management, their communication, everything they do and, at least, he does,’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said last week.
‘They’ve been a model of consistency. They have produced a lot of really good football players, obviously, and they’ve had a lot of championships. The guy has won over 300 games. You’ve got to stick around for a while to do that. He’s a special, special football coach, but he’s a good one.’