Should Bill Belichick Be On The Hotseat?
By Andy Davies
Bill Belichick is widely seen as the greatest Head Coach by many. However, should he be on the hot seat this season?
With six Super Bowl championships and a 298-152 record during his time with the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns, it is safe to say that he has had a very successful coaching career. With an additional 31 playoff wins, only Don Shula (347) has more career wins than Belichick (329).
However, the Patriots have not been good since the departure of Tom Brady. They have only had one winning season in the three years that followed the GOAT’s move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Whilst they earned a 10-7 record in the 2021 season, they were well and truly humbled in the Wildcard Round with a 47-17 loss to AFC East rivals Buffalo Bills.
Battling A Tough Division
It has not been a good time for the Patriots fanbase, and this offseason has done little to help. Whilst the additions of Mike Gesicki, Juju Smith-Schuster and first round draft selection Christian Gonzalez offer hope, the teams around them in the division appear to have strengthened further.
The New York Jets solved their quarterback issue by adding Aaron Rodgers this offseason, as well as adding Dalvin Cook to a running back room already featuring Breece Hall. The Miami Dolphins added Jalen Ramsey – and will be a force if Tua Tagovailoa is healthy all season long. And, whilst the Bills may have lost Tremaine Edmunds, their roster is still very much one of the best in the NFL. Any team with Josh Allen at QB has a chance.
How To Handle A Potential Departure
The NFL is a very cutthroat business and Belichick should be no exception to this, despite his success with the team. Even Andy Reid would be at risk of being let go if the Kansas City Chiefs suddenly had three straight seven-win seasons. At the end of the day, the league is a “What have you done for me lately” one. And despite his fondness for his long-time head coach, would there come a point when owner Robert Kraft sees no other option than to let Belichick go?
Should Kraft ever decide to do this, it would be handled differently to the normal Black Monday cull that we see after the conclusion of each regular season. It is likely Kraft tries to save Bill’s reputation and credibility, gently pushing him out under the guise of retirement.
No matter what has happened the past three seasons, Belichick deserves the greatest send off. Before being appointed as Head Coach in 2000, the team had made the playoffs eight times in 37 seasons. They had made just two Super Bowl appearances prior and only three Conference Championships. During his 23 years with the organisation, Belichick has made the playoffs in 18 of those seasons, has been to 13 Conference Championships and nine Super Bowls. This goes to show the level of respect he deserves – and why it will be a tough day if it becomes apparent Belichick needs to go.
However, nothing lasts for ever – and Belichick is no different. Kraft will want to make sure that the team is set up for success once more in his time as owner, as well as the time that follows after that role ends.
This is a big season for Belichick, and the upcoming season will be a test for his team. Whilst they have games against the defending NFC Champions Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys as well as games twice a year against the aforementioned tough AFC East opponents, they also get to face the Washington Commanders, Indianapolis Colts in Germany, and Las Vegas Raiders. These represent some very winnable games, as well as the tough ones. They also get to face the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos.
The Chargers have their own question marks at the Head Coaching position, with Brandon Staley coming under fire for some dubious in-game decision making – something Belichick is the master of. As for the Broncos, no one knows whether Russell Wilson will get back to his best. He may not ever recover and get back to old form, even if he is now playing for Sean Payton. These are two games that the Pats will have further opportunity to win.
A current Sports Journalism masters student, Andy has been writing NFL articles since January 2020. Originally from Wales, Andy also writes for pro football mania and dolphins talk, as well as appearing on podcasts and videos for euro tripz. find him on twitter @andydaviessport.