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New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick could be among head coaches to step down

Vincent Frank

Legendary six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick once again has his New England Patriots in playoff positioning as the future Hall of Famer continues to prove his worth as an all-time great.

Now in his 23rd season as the Patriots’ head coach, Belichick also finds himself as the second-oldest man at his position in the NFL at 70 years old. It’s in this that some have bandied about the possibility that Belichick could end up retiring at some point soon.

NFL insider Josina Anderson from CBS Sports touched on this recently, indicating that there’s been talk about one of the three longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL stepping down after this season as teams prepare for potential vacancies around the league.

“There’s talk behind-the-scenes as to whether any one of 3 of the NFL’s longest tenured head coaches will step down after this season or next as these lists get compiled in preparation for vacancies,” report on head coaches who might step down in January.

With New England since all the way back in 2000, Belichick is the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL. He’s followed in line by Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens.

Related: Bill Belichick and the highest-paid NFL head coaches of 2022

It makes sense for Bill Belichick to call it quits for the New England Patriots

bill belichick retirement
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a few different things to look at here. Despite New England’s 5-4 record, the team is not seen as a top-end conference title contender. In fact, it is another tier below the likes of the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo bills in the AFC East alone.

Set to turn 71 years old in April, it’s an open question whether Belichick wants to be part of a longer-term plan to return to championship contention following the departure of Tom Brady ahead of the 2020 season.

Internally, New England has a potential head coach in waiting in the form of Jerod Mayo. He was a finalist for multiple jobs this past coaching cycle. Meanwhile, the decision to bring back former assistants in that of Joe Judge and Matt Patricia could be part of a broader succession plan in New England.

  • Bill Belichick coaching record: 295-147, .667 winning percentage, six Super Bowl titles

Considered one of the greatest head coaches in modern history, Belichick gave up some front office power to player personnel man Matt Groh this past offseason. It showed in New England’s draft. One has to wonder if he’s planning for Groh to take over as the chief decision-maker.

We must also note that there was some talk during the offseason regarding Belichick’s future in New England despite the head coach refusing to really talk about it.

“I don’t have any answers,” Bill Belichick said back in August. “So, there’s nothing I can say. I don’t have any like, one-year plan, five-year plan, 10-year plan. I don’t know.”

As for the two other head coaches the aforementioned report suggested could end up resigning, Harbaugh just recently signed an extention with the Ravens. While it’s highly unlikely Tomlin leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers, they are in the initial stages of a rebuild. It could make sense for him to exit and look to join a contending team after so much success in Pittsburgh.