‘I’ll always be a Patriot’: Belichick OUT at New England after 24 years, six Super Bowls and 300 wins
Six-time NFL champion Bill Belichick has agreed to part ways as the coach of the New England Patriots, bringing an end to his 24-year tenure as the architect of the most decorated dynasty of the league’s Super Bowl era.
The 71-year-old became just the third coach in NFL history to reach 300 career regular season wins earlier this season, joining Hall of Famers Don Shula and George Halas.
“There are so many fond memories and thoughts that I have when I think about the Patriots and I’ll always be a Patriot,” he said at a media conference.
“I look forward to coming back here but at this time, we’re going to move on. Excited for the future but always be very appreciative of the opportunity here, the support here.”
With 333 wins, including the playoffs, Belichick trails only Shula (347 wins) for the record for victories by a coach.
But the Patriots ended this season 4-13, Belichick’s worst record in 29 seasons as an NFL head coach as he ends his New England tenure with a 333-178 overall record.
With his cut-off hoodies and ever-present scowl, Belichick teamed with quarterback Tom Brady to lead the Patriots to six Super Bowl victories, nine AFC titles and 17 division championships in 19 years.
During a less successful — but also tumultuous — stint with the original Cleveland Browns, Belichick also earned 37 of his career victories.
It’s not immediately clear who owner Robert Kraft will tap to replace the future Hall of Famer.
Belichick oversaw a record-equalling half-dozen Super Bowl wins, but he also won two rings as Bill Parcells’ defensive co-ordinator with the New York Giants.
But the Patriots have stumbled to a 29-38 record since Brady departed following the 2019 season and missed the play-offs in three of those four seasons.
Belichick’s subsequent solutions at quarterback haven’t panned out.
Brady’s initial replacement, Cam Newton, didn’t resemble the player who won the 2015 MVP award and was cut after a 7-9 finish in 2020.
Meanwhile, Brady won his seventh Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that same season.
The only child of a World War II veteran who spent three decades as a Navy assistant coach, Belichick is a football historian with an encyclopedic knowledge of strategy from the sport’s early days to current NFL trends. His players said his attention to detail never left them unprepared.
Belichick has been a master of the NFL rule book, unearthing loopholes in clock operations and offensive line formations that – though entirely legal – cemented his reputation as a mad genius.
But his legacy in New England also includes two major cheating investigations — and other, minor ones — that cost him and the team draft picks and more than $1 million in fines. Opponents accused the Patriots of everything from hacking their headsets to cutting corners on injury reports.
And the focus on football that was long viewed as a harmless quirk also led him into more troubling areas.
His friendship with former President Donald Trump, which Belichick insisted was not political, landed the coach on the list to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom in the waning days of the administration. After the outcry against the US Capitol siege, Belichick announced “the decision has been made not to move forward.”