New England head coach Bill Belichick | SCREENSHOT: NFL Films/YouTube

Based on his body of work, it’s fair to say that Bill Belichick is the greatest head coach in the history of the NFL. He has more Super Bowl victories than anyone else ever, and he took a franchise that was an inconsistent contender and turned it into the most dominant dynasty the gridiron world had ever seen.

Bill Belichick discusses a call with an official | SCREENSHOT: NFL Films/YouTube

Of course, the coach was known for his pairing with quarterback Tom Brady, who eventually left chilly Massachusetts for sunny Florida. And while TB12 picked up his seventh ring with the Buccaneers, Belichick has seemingly been rebuilding ever since the G.O.A.T. took his talents to Tampa.

It’s just not happening anymore. Even if you don’t believe that Brady was the only reason for Bill Belichick’s success, it’s not like he suddenly forgot how to coach in the National Football League. Instead? As an article recently stated, it could just be that, like every great thing in pro football, Belichick’s two-decade-plus reign must finally come to an end.

But is that even possible? Can owner Robert Kraft really afford the crazy PR blowback that would come from him severing his working relationship with the man who built the franchise? And how would they even go about the process of replacing a legend? Yahoo Sports writer Charles Robinson posed these questions in a recent, thought-provoking article, and it has been mentioned by many of the talking heads in the NFL in 2023. Everyone from Dan Patrick to Colin Cowherd to Pat McAfee has brought up the idea of life after Darth Belichick in the Patriot universe, and what would that even look like?

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Sunday represented a good look at the modern-day version of Bill Belichick. Once feared by those around the League and seemingly never out of any game (remember Super Bowl LI?), he and the Pats suffered the worst loss in his tenure with the franchise, 38-3, to the Dallas Cowboys. The coach even benched his handpicked Brady successor, Mac Jones, in the middle of the blowout.

It was a very un-Belichick-like performance for the Boys from Boston, as they looked lost and totally ineffective.  And even a little bit lazy, which tells you that the disciplinarian has lost this team. And without Tom Brady there as his leadership lieutenant, he doesn’t have much help holding it all together.

The Patriots are now 1-3 and going absolutely nowhere. They are far behind both the Dolphins and Bills within the division and would likely be the runaway favorite to finish in last place if it weren’t for the Jets losing Aaron Rodgers for the year. This is from a team that finished in first place in that very same division for 16 of 17 years from 2003-2009.  Those days seem long gone now.

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Someday, the New England Patriots will go forward without Bill Belichick. It’s the circle of life – and of football – that everything must die first so that it can be reborn. That’s where this franchise is right now… standing in the middle of the purgatory that exists between their past and their future. And the only way to go forward to tomorrow is to say goodbye to yesterday.

It’s time for the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft to do the same. The time to move on is upon us, but the story of how that happens will be almost as intriguing and important as the legacy that Bill Belichick will leave behind when he’s gone.

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