How ‘fascinating chapter’ in Belichick’s career will impact his legacy originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Bill Belichick is a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame whenever he becomes eligible. But that won’t stop one Hall of Fame voter from watching Belichick closely in his final years with the New England Patriots.
The Athletic’s Mike Sando joined our Tom E. Curran on a new Patriots Talk Podcast to discuss Belichick’s vast coaching legacy, and how the head coach’s record following Tom Brady’s departure in 2020 could alter it ever so slightly. While Belichick won six Super Bowls in his first 20 seasons with the Patriots from 2000 to 2019 as the mastermind behind the greatest dynasty in professional sports history, he’s also 25-26 (including one playoff loss) since Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2019 season
And Sando believes everything should be taken into account when considering Belichick’s place in football history.
“I’m one of the Hall of Fame voters, and obviously he’s going to go right in the Hall of Fame. But I like to wait for the analysis of everything,” Sando told Curran.
“I think this is a fascinating chapter (for Belichick) because of what came before. He’s the last guy to win more than ten games in Cleveland, so it wasn’t a complete disaster in Cleveland like everybody makes it sound like; he had some success there. He’s a great coach. But I would love to see him coach for five years now and have the years before (Brady) and the years after. It would be fun to take in then, wouldn’t it?”
Despite leading the Browns to the playoffs in 1994 with an 11-5 record, Belichick still had a .450 winning percentage over five seasons as Cleveland’s head coach. And if Belichick goes two more seasons without getting the Patriots over .500 in the post-Brady era, that’s a full decade of sub-.500 football that would need to be factored into his overall legacy, says Sando.
“What was his winning percentage in Cleveland?” Sando said. “What if it’s 48 percent after Brady and there’s enough time — like, we’re already four years (past Brady), and I think Belichick will coach for a couple more years, don’t you? … So, I think that’s helpful information in assessing a career.”
To that end, Curran sees a parallel between Belichick and Chuck Noll, the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach who won four Super Bowls during the 1970s but hovered around .500 over his final seven coaching seasons in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“You look at the positioning of the books behind you — Chuck Noll I think is the most similar to Bill in the arc of what happened toward the end,” Curran said. “Not Tom Landry, more Chuck Noll.”
Also in this episode:
Which QB would you rather have, Tua Tagovailoa or Mac Jones?
Sando breaks down his QB tier system.
How did the AFC landscape change after Week 1?