Bill Belichick is clearly going 0-for-7 when it comes to finding a head coaching job in 2024. If, as appears to be the case, nothing happens in Seattle, Washington or elsewhere, what will happen in 2025?
The question of control will continue to hover over Belichick's prospects. Does he want the keys to the football operation? If so, would the owner be willing to fire and/or rehire current staff in order to accommodate Belichick?
Peter King made that point on Friday BFT Live. Most teams now have a full and robust analytical staff, ready to continually provide input and advice to the head coach. What if Belichick doesn't want any of them around?
What if he doesn't want anyone but the people he knows and trust? That was one of the issues during his final years in New England. He was very reluctant to trust others. This is likely a byproduct of his upbringing on the Naval Academy campus, where football and the military combine to create an atmosphere of the utmost secrecy.
Belichick knows people like to talk. They like to use information to exchange favors. They like to convince others of the things they know. Belichick has run the Patriots with a keen understanding of those basic truths of human dynamics, spending two decades carefully shaping a small staff of coaches and others around him.
So, if/when he takes over a new team, either the owner will be ready to pass out or Belichick will suddenly decide to put his trust in a group of people he doesn't know at all, and if he does, he probably doesn't want to be around him.
Meanwhile, where will his preferred coaching staff be a year from now? Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is currently available. If he signed a multi-year contract, for example, to return to the Patriots and work with new coach Jerrod Mayo, McDaniels likely wouldn't be available to partner with Belichick again. Same for others like Matt Patricia, Joe Judge, and one or both of Belichick's sons.
Could a year in television humble Belichick to the idea that he should only be a coach and coach? maybe. Once he becomes a coach again, will he accept it?
It's a point we raised on Friday. If a team has a general manager in his 40s who has complete control of the draft and roster, and the general manager wants to draft a certain player and Belichick shows up with a face and a grunt, what will the general manager do?
The issue is not only about drafting players, but about developing them. In New England, the dearth of quality players in recent years likely owes as much to the coach's failure to develop draft picks as to the coach's failure. De facto The general manager failed to choose the right people. If Belichick struggled to properly draft the players he wanted, what would he do with the players he didn't want?
That's why anything other than complete control of Belichick would inevitably lead to complete chaos. That's why any owner who wants Belichick in 2025 must be prepared to throw him the car keys and tell him to drive it wherever and however he wants.
Will anyone do it? Belichick's continued presence on television (if/when he takes a job with the network) will give him a platform to showcase his depth of knowledge. He'd be more engaging and charismatic than the guy we see treating every press conference like a colonoscopy without anesthesia.
All it takes is one owner to decide to roll the dice. It won't be easy. It won't be cheap. But Belichick is a proven winner, a master of situational football mastery. If there is a really good roster, the risk of giving him full control will be reduced.
Teams to watch (in my own assessment) include the Bills, Browns, Jaguars, Giants, Eagles, Vikings, and Buccaneers.
I left the Cowboys because, if it happens, this is the year to do it.
I added the Giants because he had long thought he would like to return to the place where he won a pair of Super Bowls as defensive coordinator, and because the team regressed in 2023 after a playoff berth in 2022.
The Browns are there because owner Jimmy Haslam has a proven ability to do desperate, reckless things.
And the Vikings are there for a very simple reason. Owner Zygi Wilf was a huge Giants fan before purchasing the Vikings. It's not crazy to think that Zygi and Mark Wilf are enamored with the idea of giving Belichick a chance to take the good Vikings to the top of the mountain the franchise has been trying to climb for more than 50 years.
This is still not a long list of potential options. It's seven. Same number of openings this year, with no owner willing to hand over football operations to Belichick or take the leap of faith that making him coach and coach only won't lead to widespread organizational dysfunction.
Would the owner be willing to do either in 2025?
Again, all it takes is one.
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