Yes, you read that headline correctly.
For years, Detroit Lions fans have dreamed about what it would be like to have a great head coach like Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. But instead, WE have had coaches like Marty Mornhinweg, Rod Marinelli, and Jim Caldwell, just to name a few.
But now, it seems like a possibility that Belichick could be coaching his final games with the Patriots and the Lions just so happen to be searching for a new head coach.
All is not perfect in New England
According to a report from Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com titled, “For Kraft, Brady and Belichick, is this the beginning of the end,” it is very clear that it’s no longer all roses for the Patriots.
Sure, owner Bob Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady have won five Super Bowls together but that does not mean they will continue to do so before finally riding off into the sunset as the great owner/head coach/quarterback in NFL history.
“But according to interviews with more than a dozen New England staffers, executives, players and league sources with knowledge of the team’s inner workings, the three most powerful people in the franchise — Belichick, Brady and owner Robert Kraft — have had serious disagreements. They differ on Brady’s trainer, body coach and business partner Alex Guerrero; over the team’s long-term plans at quarterback; over Belichick’s bracing coaching style; and most of all, over who will be the last man standing. Those interviewed describe a palpable sense in the building that this might be the last year together for this group.”
With Brady growing older (now 40-years-old), it seemed like just a matter of time before Belichick made the decision to hand the reigns to the youngster, Jimmy Garopollo. But Brady felt the heat and he got Kraft on his side. Before long, Belichick was told to trade Garoppolo, and that’s exactly what happened.
Two weeks before the Nov. 1 trading deadline, Belichick met with Kraft to discuss the quarterback situation. According to staffers, the meeting ran long, lasting half the day and pushing back Belichick’s other meetings. The office was buzzing. The meeting ended with a clear mandate to Belichick: trade Garoppolo because he would not be in the team’s long-term plans, and then, once again, find the best quarterback in the draft and develop him. Belichick was furious and demoralized, according to friends. But in the end, he did what he asks of his players and coaches: He did his job.
Could Belichick be the odd man out?
So, if Kraft, Belichick, and Brady are unable to come to an agreement and work together in 2018 and beyond, how do things play out?
It’s highly unlikely that Kraft is going anywhere which means that either Belichick or Brady would be the one to leave town following the current season. Brady is currently under contract through the 2019 season but like stated earlier, he is getting up there in age. That being said, the 2-time NFL MVP has said his goal is to play into his mid-40’s and considering he is still playing at an MVP level, that goal could be attainable.
When reading the report from Wickersham, it is very clear that Belichick is frustrated with his current situation in New England. Not only was he forced to trade who he thought would be his future signal-caller in Garoppolo, but with all of the head coach openings around the league, there is a chance Belichick could also lose both his offensive and defensive coordinators.
Those interviewed describe a lingering sadness around the team, as if coaches and staff know that the end might be near. Both McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia are expected to become head coaches; other assistant coaches might leave to join their staffs or for college jobs, or even retire. The imminent exodus raises the question going forward: Is it possible that Belichick would rather walk away than try to rebuild the staff with a 41-year-old Brady and another year of Guerrero drama — all while trying to develop a new quarterback?
Could Bill Belichick give it a run in Detroit?
As soon as rumors starting swirling that ESPN would be publishing a piece documenting the major troubles that seem to be going on in New England, the thought of Belichick coming to Detroit was tossed around on social media.
Let me be clear on something. If I had to give a percentage on the chances of Belichick leaving the Patriots following the season AND coming to coach the Detroit Lions, I would say 5% chance AT BEST.
Look, there is no question about it that it’s fun to think about what the Lions could be with Belichick as head coach and Matthew Stafford as his quarterback, but it just seems very unlikely. Not only is Belichick 65-years-old (second oldest behind Pete Carroll), but he has established such a legacy with the Patriots that it is difficult to imagine him starting over somewhere else.
Belichick always had a vision for how, after more than four decades in the NFL, he wanted to walk away, beyond setting up the team at quarterback. He wanted his sons, Brian and Steve, both Patriots assistants, to be established in their football careers. And he wanted the winning to continue without him, to have a legacy of always having the best interests of the franchise in mind. Both Brady and Belichick have redefined how much influence a coach and quarterback can have on a team game. But this year has shown that the legacy of football’s greatest coach, like the game itself, is beyond his control.
To be honest, it’s fun to dream about Belichick coming to the Lions and bringing a Super Bowl to Detroit, but this may be his time to walk away from the game as the greatest head coach in NFL history.
Sorry, Lions fans.