Yesterday’s hot topic on Boston sports radio was the the idea that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick should be fired. It is nearly impossible to imagine things have gotten to a point where this need to be said, but under no circumstances should Belichick be fired this season. Apparently, that is not as obvious to some as it should be.
On 98.5 The Sports Hub, the crew of The Felger and Mazz Show claimed if there was one NFL coach the deserved to be fired immediately it was Bill Belichick. Co-host Tony Massarotti was particularly outspoken in this belief.
“Out. Bye. Done. See you later. It should have already happened,” Massarotti proclaimed.
“Is this going to get better? It’s not. So he’s got to go,” added Jim Murray.
Although co-host Michael Felger seemed surprised by the answer, he did agree with the assertion that Belichick should have been fired three years ago if it kept Tom Brady in New England.
Whether or not Robert Kraft should have parted ways with Bill Belichick in the past in simply talk show fodder. Whether or not Belichick being fired would have persuaded Tom Brady to stay with the Patriots is simply speculation. And discussing whether Bill Belichick should be fired now is pointless.
Robert Kraft absolutely will not fire Bill Belichick during the NFL season. The man helped lead the New England Patriots to the greatest 20-year run in NFL history. During his time in Foxboro, Belichick has amassed 292 wins, including postseason, while winning over 70% of their games. In that span, the Patriots have won nine AFC Championships and six Super Bowls.
Obviously, some people will give Tom Brady the vast majority of the credit for the team’s success in that span. Brady won another Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after exiting New England. Meanwhile, Belichick’s Patriots have gone 25-27 in the regular season, 0-1 in the playoffs.
If the 2023 season continues to go south for the Patriots, Bill Belichick’s future employment with the franchise is a very valid conversation, but not now.
A mid-season fire would be a slap in the face to Belichick. Getting publicly embarrassed by the franchise he helped to make great would be a bad look for the New England Patriots. Robert Kraft is a very smart man, and he knows this. It might appease some talking heads and disgruntled fans in the short term, but it would be a bad look.
And who would be Bill Belichick’s replacement? Jerod Mayo appears the obvious candidate. He turned down interviews for head coaching jobs last offseason to stay in New England. It would also allow the other prime candidate, Bill O’Brien, to remain as offensive coordinator. In this scenario, Steve Belichick would be the defensive coordinator, though it would obviously be a bit awkward to continue working for the franchise that fired his father.
It is also important to remember that Bill Belichick led the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl championship a mere five years ago. Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry stayed 11 years after winning his final Lombardi Trophy. Chuck Noll lasted 12 more seasons after his last championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Don Shula coached the Miami Dolphins for another 22 years after his last Super Bowl victory.
Speaking of Shula, Belichick is currently chasing him for a couple of all-time NFL coaching records. Shula has the most regular season wins (328) and most total wins, including playoffs (364) in league history. Bill Belichick is currently sitting at 298 and 329 respectively. Will Robert Kraft allow his longtime head coach to stay long enough to break both records?
Perhaps the Patriots will be able to turn around the 2023 season and this conversation gets buried. Many hot takes from Boston sports radio have met similar fates. If not however, it is legitimate to discuss this after the season, regardless of how close Belichick is to breaking Shula’s records. But for now, Bill Belichick is not going anywhere, nor should he.