The phrase “end of an era” has been used frequently in the recent football world. Nick Saban retired in Alabama, Bill Belichick was “ushered” out of New England, and Pete Carroll was moved into an advisor’s role in Seattle. All championship coaches who many feel the game has passed by.
However, Belichick being passed over in this cycle means we’ve likely seen the last of “The Hoodie” in the National Football League. At almost 72 years old (turns 72 in April), taking this year off means Belichick would be 73 before walking back onto a sideline in the fall of 2025. Many feel the league passed him years ago and The Hoodie has failed to transition. While Patriots fans appreciate (he thanked them with a full page Boston Globe ad) everything and every moment with Belichick over the past 24 years, most feel like once Tom Brady moved on that was it.
The past couple of years it felt like that mystique that surrounded Belichick and “The Patriot Way” for over two decades had all but vanished in New England. The perceived lack of attention he received during this coaching cycle shows that the league has officially moved on.
Of course all it takes is one team, but with Belichick wanting full control like he’d had in New England, a return for Belichick in ’25 seems farfetched. If he’s willing to step back a bit and just coach, more franchises will likely be interested. Anything short of that? The Hoodie era is done. We can call it a wrap now.
There really are only a select few teams out there that could even entertain bringing Belichick in a year from now. He interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons in January, and it looked like they were going to join forces, then suddenly it didn’t work out. After the last few years of watching the Patriots empire collapse under Belichick, there might not be one team willing to hand him the keys and all the control over the castle.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank thought better of it and even went in a completely opposite direction, hiring former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris. In doing so, Blank opted for a much younger and not nearly as accomplished coach over Belichick. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decided to stay with Mike McCarthy, despite their lack of success in the postseason.
With all the NFL head coaching vacancies now filled, that leaves Belichick on the outside looking in, which sounded unfathomable not long ago. A lot of folks feel like he’ll be back, but unless it’s with a contending team that’s ready to win within 2-3 years, it’s unlikely.
It’s tough right now to find many spots where Belichick can realistically slide in after taking a year off at age 72. It won’t be cheap hiring Belichick and he’s earned the right to demand whatever he wants from any organization. That doesn’t mean they have to accept his terms, which is clearly the case, as we’ve seen Atlanta say no after multiple meetings. It also doesn’t look like Belichick is willing to give up the control and level of power he had for so long with the Patriots. Which means the final chapter on the G.O.A.T.’s career has been written.