It still seems strange for some football fans to see the New England Patriots languishing in last place in the AFC East. But the team that has ruled the first two decades of this century is sitting right there, with a 2-5 record, and despite their impressive win over the Bills, it looks like the season is basically going nowhere.
That’s given rise to speculation as to whether or not team owner Robert Kraft might be looking to fire six-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Belichick. And reportedly, he’s already considered that once-unthinkable possibility.
Belichick, who serves as both the Patriots’ head coach and general manager, has been the man at the helm since 2001. Alongside quarterback Tom Brady, he helped the franchise capture six Lombardi Trophies as they became the Team of the 2000s. Serving as The Darth Vader Under The Hoodie, Belichick commanded his troops in a way that seemingly intimidated the rest of The League.
It was as if they were never out of any game, as long as they had that magical quarterback-coach combo. A cornerstone example of that is their historic 25-point comeback against the Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl LI.
But that was then… and this is now. In 2023, Bill Belichick’s Patriot Way seems to be headed in the wrong direction, and his boss has taken notice.
During a recent appearance on Colin Cowherd’s talk show, The Herd, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated commented that Robert Kraft has already had discussions about handing the longtime Patriots patriarch his pink slip.
“Discussions have taken place,” Breer told Cowherd about the Patriots’ potentially jettisoning Belichick. “I can tell you for sure, Robert hears the criticism, he hears the anger locally and people in the building know for a fact that he’s hearing the anger from the fanbase.”
Many fans and observers have voiced their opinions on social media that the current NFL may be pushing Belichick and his playbook into the past. One of the particularly stinging indictments of his talent has been a pretty glaring stat – He has a sub-.500 coaching record without Tom Terrific under center as his QB.
Adding salt to those wounds is the fact that Tom Brady then went on to win yet another Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, while his former coach has watched his castle crumble.
There is a chance that Bill Belichick may also step down, but that likely wouldn’t happen until after this season is over. On the flip side of the equation, Kraft would also have no reason to make a move halfway into a lost season.
But a decision will be looming soon. If the losing trend lingers for the rest of 2023, and all the rings that Bill Belichick owns won’t help him keep a grip on the Patriots head coaching job.
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