The Falcons are off and running in their search for Arthur Smith’s replacement. They’ve already conducted several interviews, but none are capturing headlines quite like Bill Belichick. This continues a series where I profile each Falcons head coach candidate.
If you’ve missed any other parts, follow the links below.
Falcons head coach candidate: Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick really doesn’t need to fire up the resume builder like other candidates. He’s an eight-time Super Bowl champion, has coached in the NFL for nearly 50 years, and is entering his 30th season as a head coach. Belichick is the architect of the ‘Patriot Way’ that, with Tom Brady, brought six Super Bowls to New England over a two-decade period.
However, in the post-Brady era, the Patriots haven’t experienced a ton of success, capping off his career as head coach in New England with the worst overall single-season winning percentage of his extensive career. There’s no arguing his football knowledge or his ability to put together a competent defense, which has long been an issue in Atlanta before Ryan Nielsen arrived.
However, age has to be at least mentioned. Belichick will be 72 years old at the start of the 2024 season, and if he makes it to 2025 as a head coach, he’ll match Romeo Crennel at 73 as the record holder for the oldest head coach to coach a game in NFL history.
Another aspect of Belichick as a candidate is his autonomy in New England. With the Patriots, he was the de facto general manager and head coach for nearly 25 years. There was a lot of success early in his tenure, but personnel decisions were scrutinized over the last handful of years when Brady wasn’t there to cover up roster deficiencies.
He’s struggled in the draft for over ten years. One of the craziest stats of Belichick’s resume is that he had not re-signed a top three-round Patriots draft selection since 2013 (Duron Harmon).
There’s a story out that Belichick went with N’Keal Harry over Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown because the former took the interview process more seriously. Granted, no general manager bats 1.000, but Belichick’s track record is horrid.
Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all time, one of the best developers of defensive talent in NFL history, and has a resume, outside of the last four seasons, that is impeccable.
However, he’s 71 years old and isn’t getting any younger. His coaching staffs, personnel decisions, and overall results have been pathetic to consider him a head coach candidate. If he weren’t considered the GOAT, he’d be forced into retirement. “The Patriot Way” only worked because of Tom Brady; the six Super Bowls weren’t all Brady’s doing, but the players followed their quarterback.
Bill Belichick has status from his prior accomplishments. Arthur Blank is just hopelessly wishing that the year turns back to 2015 if the Falcons hire him.
Photographer: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire