Historic Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Is Reportedly Leaving the Franchise, but Why?

Jamie Lerner - Author
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Jan. 11 2024, Published 11:44 a.m. ET

Bill Belichick
Source: Getty Images

American football is at an all-time shakeup as three historic coaches, whose paths have crossed throughout the past five decades, are leaving their long-term franchises. Now, sources are saying that the historic New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, is leaving after 24 years with the NFL team.

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This news comes on the heels of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll getting fired and Alabama head coach Nick Saban retiring. All three of these coaches have worked with similar teams and are all around the same age. Most notably, however, they’ve all led their respective teams to several championship titles, although Bill is a record-holder as the only head coach in NFL history to hold eight Super Bowl titles. So why did Bill leave the Patriots?

Bill Belichick
Source: Getty Images
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Bill Belichick hasn’t yet revealed why he will leave the Patriots, but it may not be his decision.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 11, 2024, ESPN first reported that Bill Belichick would be leaving the Patriots. The franchise’s 2023 season was not a great one — they finished with four wins and 13 losses, their worst record since 1992. This is the second consecutive year the Patriots failed to make the playoffs, and the fifth season since they were last in the Super Bowl.

Even still, Bill’s history with the Patriots is a long one. He first joined the team in 2000 as their head coach, and with the acquisition of Tom Brady as their backup quarterback, the next two decades would be historic for the New England franchise. After their '90s star quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured, Tom took over and Drew never played for the Patriots again.

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Bill Belichick and Tom Brady
Source: Getty Images

The partnership of Bill and Tom led to three Super Bowl wins in 2001, 2003, and 2004, and in 2007, they finished the season with a perfect 16–0 record. However, when Tom left the team in 2019 due to creative differences with Bill (Tom wanted more input in strategic decisions), the Patriots fell from their pedestal.

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Between a mediocre last five seasons, with the 2022 and 2023 seasons as some of the worst in franchise history, owner Robert Kraft may be ready to say sayonara to the historic coach. Sources told ESPN that Bill and Robert met in the week following the failed 2023 to decide how to proceed. “There was said to be no conflict, no disagreement, and in the end, productive talks resulted in a mutual decision that left both sides comfortable and at ease,” ESPN wrote.

Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick
Source: Getty Images
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Bill had one year left on his contract with the Patriots, but he will now look toward other teams to complete his 50th consecutive year as a coach in the NFL, a record he’s already set at 49 consecutive seasons. With so many shakeups in football, there are plenty of expected vacancies on various teams who will likely want Bill to coach them.

After all, he is the most decorated head coach in NFL history, the longest-tenured active head coach, the first all-time in playoff coaching wins with 31, and he has the most Super Bowl titles for any coach in history with eight wins. So we’re sure that he’ll be a hot commodity.

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