On 'Black Monday,' All Eyes on Belichick

After dismal season, Patriots coach sounds like he wants to stay in the job
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2024 9:44 AM CST
On 'Black Monday,' All Eyes on Belichick
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is seen before a game against the New York Jets on Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The NFL regular season is in the books, and one of the biggest questions on "Black Monday"—the day when coaches' heads often roll—is one that would have been unthinkable not too long ago: Will the Patriots fire Bill Belichick? The 71-year-old's once-powerful team just wrapped up an awful 4-13 season with a 17-3 loss at home to the Jets. "Obviously, things need to be fixed," said Belichick on Monday morning, reports NESN. His team has missed the playoffs three of the last four years in the post-Tom-Brady era. To Chad Graff of the Athletic, however, Belichick didn't sound Monday like someone who's done with the game.

"He sounds like a man who wants to keep coaching the Patriots and is willing to make changes (potentially giving up GM duties) to keep that job," writes Graff. The reference is to an unusual arrangement in New England: Belichick has served double duty as coach and de facto GM for more than two decades, though his track record of draft picks in recent years has been remarkably bad. The Patriots have not re-signed a single player drafted in the first three rounds since 2013, notes Steve Buckley at the Athletic.

Still, "the mechanics of moving on from a franchise legend, and someone who would likely be a highly sought-after candidate by other clubs, could be tricky," writes Andrew Beaton at the Wall Street Journal. "The options range from a simple firing to a mutual parting of ways or even the Patriots seeking draft-pick compensation from another team that wants to hire Belichick." The ultimate decision is up to owner Robert Kraft. (More Bill Belichick stories.)

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