Will Bill Belichick Stay or Go? The NFL’s most anticipated drama revolves around Belichick’s future. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft are expected to meet soon to discuss their futures, despite expectations of a change in the team. The meeting has numerous potential outcomes.
New England Patriots
PICTURE: New England Patriots logo. PHOTO: COURTESY OF: Creative Commons (Dated circa 2000)
The New England Patriots are a professional football team based in the Greater Boston area and compete as a member club of the National Football League (NFL) in the American Football Conference (AFC) East division. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team adopted its current name when it moved to Foxborough, Massachusetts, in 1971.
Under the ownership of Robert Kraft since 1994, the Patriots have become one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. The team’s success is largely attributed to the leadership of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, who formed one of the most dominant coach-quarterback duos in league history.
From the early 2000s through the 2010s, the Patriots experienced unprecedented success, winning numerous division titles, conference championships, and Super Bowl titles. As of my last update in January 2022, the Patriots had won six Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, and LIII) and appeared in several others.
A strong focus on team culture, discipline, strategic game planning, and adaptability has contributed to the team’s success. Under Belichick’s leadership, the Patriots have been known for their ability to consistently perform at a high level, particularly in crucial moments and games.
While the departure of Tom Brady in 2020 marked the end of an era for the Patriots, the franchise continues to be a significant force in the NFL. With a history filled with memorable moments, players, and championships, the New England Patriots have left an indelible mark on the landscape of professional football.
Bill Belichick’s Legacy
Bill Belichick is one of the most successful and renowned coaches in the history of the National Football League (NFL). As of my last update in January 2022, he served as the head coach of the New England Patriots for a long tenure, beginning in 2000 and continuing until the 2020s.
Under Belichick’s leadership, the Patriots became one of the most dominant teams in NFL history, winning multiple Super Bowl championships. Key characteristics of his coaching style are his attention to detail, strategic game planning, and ability to adapt to different opponents.Besides team culture and discipline, Belichick also emphasizes a “next man up” philosophy, in which he expects every player to step up and contribute in times of need.
Before his time with the Patriots, Belichick gained experience as an assistant coach with various NFL teams, including the New York Giants, where he served as the defensive coordinator during their Super Bowl victories in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Throughout his career, Belichick has received numerous awards and accolades, including multiple NFL Coach of the Year awards. One of the greatest coaches in NFL history, he has made a significant impact on the game of football.
PICTURE: Tom Brady takes the snap during Super Bowl XXXIX. Brady threw for 219 yards to give the Patriots their third Super Bowl victory in four years. PHOTO: COURTESY OF: Creative Commons (Dated February 6, 2005)
Can NFL coaches be traded?
It doesn’t happen often and it is little considered, but trading for a coach is not unprecedented in the NFL.
In the NFL, teams cannot trade coaches in the same manner that they trade players. Coaches are employees of their respective teams, and their contracts typically dictate the terms of their employment. When a team wants to hire a coach who is currently under contract with another team, they must seek permission to interview or negotiate with that coach.
However, there are scenarios where a team might allow a coach to leave before their contract expires, especially if it’s for a promotion (e.g., moving from an assistant coach to a head coach position). In such cases, compensation might be negotiated between the two teams, but it’s not a “trade” in the traditional sense.
That said, there have been instances where teams have traded the rights to coaches, but these situations are relatively rare and typically involve some unique circumstances. For example, compensation might involve draft picks or other considerations, but it’s not a common practice.
Overall, while there are mechanisms for teams to acquire the rights to coaches from other teams, it’s not a straightforward trade process like it is for players.
Which NFL coaches have been traded?
The trading of NFL coaches is relatively uncommon, and there haven’t been many instances of this happening throughout the league’s history. In fact, trading a head coach has only happened eight times in NFL history. Most often, the acquiring team benefits from the trade.
PICTURE: List of NFL head coach trades. PHOTO: COURTESY OF: Sporting News (Dated October 12, 2023)
One example that comes to mind is the case of Jon Gruden. In 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded multiple draft picks and cash considerations to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for the rights to Gruden, who was the Raiders’ head coach at the time. This trade occurred after Gruden had a falling out with Raiders owner Al Davis, and the Buccaneers were eager to bring him on board. Interestingly, Gruden went on to lead the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory against the Raiders in the 2002 season.
Another example involves Bill Belichick, although it’s not a straightforward “trade” in the traditional sense. In 2000, the New York Jets hired Belichick as their head coach but shortly thereafter, Belichick resigned and became the head coach of the New England Patriots. The Patriots had to give the Jets compensation, which included a first-round draft pick, to resolve the contractual obligations and allow Belichick to join the Patriots.
While these instances involve some form of compensation between teams, it’s essential to note that trading coaches is not a standard practice in the NFL. Most coaching changes occur through firings, resignations, or mutual partings of ways, rather than trades.
Where Might Bill Belichick Land?
Bill Belichick’s future is uncertain for the first time since establishing one of sports’ greatest dynasties. It’s still possible that Belichick will lead the Patriots to their 25th season in New England, but if he doesn’t where might Belichick land?
It’s clear that he would be in demand if he becomes available this offseason.
The Washington Commanders and Las Vegas Raiders are reportedly considering meeting with 71-year-old Belichick this offseason, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russinni.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Commanders are unlikely to pursue Belichick if they change head coach Ron Rivera, and the Raiders and L.A. Chargers are less likely options.
That said, Rapoport reported that the Carolina Panthers may inquire about Belichick, who they expressed interest in last season before hiring Frank Reich.
Rapoport added, “There is also the possibility that a team with a head-coaching position not yet open could have interest in Belichick.”
The Atlanta Falcons might be another potential destination for Belichick, since owner Arthur Blank may want to replace head coach Arthur Smith.
Belichick’s name has “come up frequently” in relation to the possible opening in Atlanta, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.