Bill Belichick Leaves the New England Patriots

Bill hugging coach

Image Courtesy of Mass Live

By Zachary Lichter

It was the end of an era as on January 11, the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick parted ways with the historic organization. Belichick had been coaching the Patriots for 24 seasons, taking them to the playoffs 18 times, winning 17 American Football Conference (AFC) East titles, and making nine Super Bowl appearances. 

Belichick is known for having a great partnership with future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady. The relationship between Brady and Belichick was the most successful head coach/quarterback relationship the National Football League (NFL) has ever seen.

Before becoming the head coach of the Patriots, Belichick was the head coach of the New York Jets, but the Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, wanted him, so Belichick resigned from the Jets and joined the Patriots organization. During his first season with the Patriots, he drafted Brady as the 199th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft out of Michigan. 

While Brady was not the best quarterback, he saw that Brady was a team leader, was able to read defense, and had a good work ethic. Brady was the backup quarterback for Drew Bledsoe and he only made one start in Belichick’s first season

During Belichick’s first season, they went 5-11, but that all changed in 2001 in a game against the Jets after Bledsoe left the game with a torn chest cavity and Brady took over as the new starting quarterback

In 2002, he and Brady began the dynasty by giving the Patriots their first Super Bowl title when they beat the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 35. The Patriots would then win back-to-back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005, going on to win three more Super Bowl titles in 2015, 2017, and 2019

The Brady/Belichick relationship ended in 2020 when Brady became a free agent and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Belichick stayed with the Patriots for the next three years but only brought them to the playoffs in 2021.

Joseph Broom, a junior art studio major and marketing minor commented on Belichick’s career:

“I felt like for much of his career, Bill Belichick had an unparalleled ability to strategize and provide the Patriots with the leadership to overcome practically anything,” Broom said. “He knew the ins and outs of the game like no other. There was no better example of this than Super Bowl LI, which, as a Patriots fan, went from one of the most depressing games I’ve ever watched to one of the craziest and most uplifting.”

While Brady and Belichick were one of the greatest dynamic duos in all of football. Belichick faced two scandals during his tenure with the Patriots. On April 1, 2008, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Kraft and Belichick at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss a scandal involving Belichick during the 2007 season

In a game against the Jets, Belichick had the Patriots video assistant, Matt Estrella, record the first half of the game illegally so he could see the Jets coaches defensive calls. This incident was called the Spygate, and Belichick was charged a $500,000 fine. The Patriots were charged a $250,000 fine for the Spygate

Belichick dealt with another scandal in 2015 when the Patriots were accused of deflating footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Four months after Super Bowl 49, an investigation was launched to see if the Patriots footballs were below the legal weight limit of 10 psi. The league found that the Patriots were playing with deflated footballs during the AFC Championship game, which led Brady to a four-game suspension, an incident known as Deflategate.

Belichick left the Patriots this season with a 4-13 record. His departure from the team leaves the Patriots looking for a new head coach for the first time in 24 years. On January 17 of this year, the Patriots promoted Jerod Mayo from the inside linebackers coach to the new head coach. He will be the first African American head coach for the Patriots. The Patriots’ organization will be different without Belichick, but the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era will always be remembered.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how Jerod Mayo does,” Broom said. “The last few seasons under Belichick were a bit rough so I feel like now is the time for some fresh blood. Mayo’s been an assistant coach for the Patriots for a few years and I hope he’s able to fill Belichick’s shoes.”

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