Sunday, February 25, 2024

Patriots pressure builds on Bill Belichick

As the Patriots enter Week 11, the pressure has continued to ramp up on the team to right the ship.  A recent article by recently put the odds that head coach Bill Belichick gets fired by the end of the season at 49%.  Since then, the Patriots have continued to lose, as speculation continues to mount that the team will make a change at the end of the season.

Belichick sits 28 wins away from the all-time win record, currently held by Don Shula.  While a few seasons ago, this seemed like a matter of when, not if, the team has only won four of their last seventeen games, dating back to 2022.  The Patriots lack of success the last several seasons makes the remaining 28 wins seem insurmountable.

The pressure has yet to force Belichick from departing from his ways of running the team.  Pro-Football-History’s article talks about his reluctance to hire experienced assistants he has previously not worked with.  This has never been more evident the last two seasons at his hesitation to hire a true offensive coordinator in 2022 in hopes that the team could replicate the offensive success of 2021 after offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels departed for the Raiders. The decision turned out poorly for all parties – McDaniels was fired less than two seasons into his second head coaching tenure while the Patriots offense regressed to 17th in the league in 2022.


So, what’s next for the Patriots?  They have their easiest game remaining on the schedule this weekend against the New York Giants.  If they are going to get on track, this remains their best opportunity for a win the rest of the year.  After that, they will face a similarly struggling Chargers team before they face some tough opponents like the Steelers or the Chiefs.  

Closing out the season with a few more wins will ease the pressure on him, but his return is far from guaranteed.  As a recent report indicates, he’s only under contract through 2024, making it less painful if owner Robert Kraft decides to go another direction.  One more reason why he’s likely safe through the end of the season?  Belichick would have numerous teams calling him right away and keeping him under contract means that teams would have to trade for the head coach. 

If the Patriots continue their slide at the bottom of the AFC, Belichick may be looking for an opportunity next season.  After more than two decades with the Patriots, he could benefit from a change of scenery.  A change in scenery would likely come with a staff shakeup that’s long overdue.  

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