New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick leaving team after 6 Super Bowl rings

Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the Indianapolis Colts of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium last Sunday.

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Bill Belichick “amicably” stepped down as coach of the New England Patriots, ending a decadeslong run that produced an unprecedented six Super Bowl victories, he and the club said on Thursday.

The 71-year-old, who teamed up with quarterback Tom Brady to build one of pro football’s longest runs of titles, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft made the announcement during a press conference at Gillette Stadium.

ESPN was first to report the news, citing league sources, earlier Thursday morning.

Kraft said he and Belichick met on Wednesday and they “mutually agreed to part ways amicably.”

“I’m very proud that our partnership lated 24 years,” Kraft said standing next to his now-former head coach. “It represents the end of an era, one that hopefully will always be celebrated in this region. The man standing to my left brought the leadership and coaching skills that were needed to make this type of unprecedented success that we have had possible. “

The pair both spoke to reporters but left without answering any questions.

“He’s the greatest coach of all time which makes this decision to part ways so hard,” Kraft said. “But this is a move that we mutually agreed that is needed at this time.”

Belichick ticked off a long list of Patriots staff, on and off the field, and thanked them all for their contributions to the team’s success.

“It was a great team effort and everybody put everything they had into it and that’s why we’re successful,” he said.

“Of course a great deal of thanks and appreciation to the players. Players win games in the NFL and I’ve been very, very fortunate coach some of the greatest players.”

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Head Coach Bill Belichick look on from the sideline before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on December 17, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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Belichick nonchalantly quipped that he might not have been the best boss and co-worker at times.

“They (support staff) made my life a lot easier or I made their lives a lot harder, however you want to look at it,” he said.

The famously non-demonstrative coach appeared to show some emotions when he thanked Patriots fans for their support during this long run.

“Fans here are amazing,” he said. “So many memories of the fans, the send-offs, the parades, the Sundays, whatever the situations are, the letters of support, seeing the fans away from here at a gas station or a grocery store wherever you bump into them.”

Belichick and Kraft more than hinted that they expect the longtime Pats leader to be back on another sideline soon.

“It’ll be difficult to see him in a cutoff hoodie on the sideline (of another team) but I will always continue to wish him continued success except when he’s playing our beloved Patriots,” Kraft said of Belichick and the coach’s famed, unusual fashion choices.

Belichick said he’s “excited for the future.”

“I’ll always be a Patriot,” he said. “I look forward to coming back here. But at this time, we’re going to move on and I look forward and am excited for the future.”

Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots holds the Vince Lombardi trophy after winning Super Bowl XXXVIII, 01 February 2004 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29 to win the game.

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In addition to his winning ways on the field, passive football fans might best know Belichick for his peculiar sideline fashion and gruff personality, so terse that any signs of personality have been deemed noteworthy over the years.

With no detail too small to address, Belichick once complained that the sleeves of his sweatshirts and hoodies were too long and distracting. His answer was to simply cut off sleeves in one of football’s most well-known couture statements.

When the Patriots were embroiled in the 2015 “Deflategate” scandal, as Brady and New England were caught using footballs inflated to pressure below league standards, Belichick pleaded ignorance and made a reference to the “My Cousin Vinny” character Mona Lisa Vito, played by Oscar winner Marisa Tomei.

And this past summer, Belichick appeared to reveal himself to be a secret Swiftie, extolling superstar Taylor Swift’s fearless performance in a downpour at the Patriots’ home, Gillette Stadium.

In 24 seasons controlling the sidelines of Foxborough, Belichick’s Patriots went 266-121 in regular season games.

But it was in the months of January when Belichick’s Canton credentials were sealed, as he led New England to win 30 of 42 playoff games. His Pats hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in 2019201720152005, 2004 and 2002.

He tops a list of other Hall of Fame coaches that includes Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll (four Super Bowls wins), San Francisco’s Bill Walsh (three) and Washington’s Joe Gibbs (three).

Even Belichick’s failures have burnished his resume, as his Pats have lost three times in pro football’s ultimate game, including twice against the New York Giants.

Only four-time Super Bowl-losing coaches Don ShulaBud GrantMarv Levy and Dan Reeves — all Hall of Fame inductees — have fallen short more than Belichick.

Sunday’s Week 18 loss to the New York Jets was also Belichick’s 165th regular season defeat tying for the most in NFL history with Reeves (190-165-2) and Jeff Fisher (173-165-1). Those 165 losses overseen by Belichick, of course, are far overshadowed by his 302 victories, adding up to a staggering .646 wining clip.

Those 302 regular season triumphs is the third most in NFL history, trailing only Shula (328-156-6) and George “Papa Bear” Halas (318-148-13).

If Belichick wants to keep coaching in the NFL and run down Shula’s mark, there are slew of openings. The Washington Commanders, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers all made coaching changes since the start of this past regular season.

Although Belichick’s ticket to Canton is all but certain, his legacy has come under some scrutiny in recent years, especially since Brady’s departure for Tampa Bay before the 2020 season.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on in the first half at Gillette Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. 

Winslow Townson | Getty Images

While Brady’s Buccaneers went 32-18, won a Super Bowl and qualified for the playoffs in all three of his Tampa seasons before retiring, Belichick’s Pats are just 29-38 since 2020.

The Pats bottomed out this season, going 4-13, by far Belichick’s worst campaign on the sidelines — which includes five generally forgettable years in charge in Cleveland where his Browns went 36-44.

It’s not uncommon for even some of the game’s best coaches to go out on low note.

In recent days, Belichick has been compared to Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys, a two-time Super Bowl winner and Texas-sized legend who was awkwardly forced out of Irving after three consecutive losing seasons from 1986-88.

Belichick’s career could be boiled down to two forks in the road where he made a pair of spectacularly correct choices.

After he as was fired by the Cleveland Browns, Belichick enjoyed successful stints as a top assistant with the Patriots and the New York Jets.

Belichick was poised to take over Gang Green before he made one of the most famous audibles called in football history, resigning his Jets position the same day in 2000 he was supposed to be introduced as head coach.

Belichick stepped down from the job he never took via a handwritten note, “I resign as HC of the NYJ.” Since Belichick’s history-making scribble, the Jets have had seven different head coaches and no Super Bowl appearances.

And in another Jets-related twist of fate, New York linebacker Mo Lewis delivered a punishing tackle on Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe on Sept. 23, 2001, knocking the 1993 first-round pick from the game.

Belichick sent in Brady, a little-known sixth-round pick, and stuck with him even after Bledsoe recovered from injury. Belichick had to go back to Bledsoe four months later for the 2002 AFC title game because of a Brady injury.

But even after Bledsoe led the Pats to victory in Pittsburgh, Belichick went back to the healed rookie. A week later, Brady and the Pats stunned “The Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl.

Before that 2002 title, New England had never won a Super Bowl or even an American Football League title in their previous incarnation as the Boston Patriots

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