New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is always one step ahead of the competition and he’s always focused on the depth of every position on the roster- including his own.
Not only does Belichick have one of the deepest coaching staffs in the league, with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia both potential head coaching candidates or heirs to the throne, Belichick is also trying to leave the franchise in good condition so he can pass it to his sons, according to an ESPN: The Magazine story by Tom Junod and Seth Wickersham.
“Belichick is seeking to secure an immortality of his own,” ESPN reports. “No one knows how much longer he'll coach, but his friends give him two or three more years, enough to ensure that his two sons, Stephen and Brian, both Patriots assistants, are secure, and possibly long enough to establish a truly dynastic succession. He'd told friends for the past year that he wanted to coach [Jimmy] Garoppolo as a starter and that he was confident he could win a Super Bowl with him.”
There’s a lot to unpack in this paragraph, so let’s look at each segment.
Belichick’s friends think he will only coach for “two or three more years,” which seems pretty soon to me and doesn’t align with the idea that Belichick wants to stick around after Tom Brady retires. Belichick could potentially reach the top of the coaching wins leader board if he sticks around for 6 more seasons and I can see the allure in chasing the mountain top.
And then there’s the idea that Belichick is keeping the seat warm for his sons, Stephen and Brian, the Patriots current safeties coach and coaching assistant, respectively. That’s an amazing idea and it does align with Belichick sticking around for some additional time. The Patriots can’t expect McDaniels and Patricia to stick around forever and that leaves plenty of time for Chad O’Shea and Brian Flores to be promoted to their respective coordinator positions and for the Belichicks to be elevated into the hierarchy.
Wouldn’t you want to see head coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Brian Belichick, and defensive coordinator Steve Belichick? Or maybe future head coach Steve Belichick and future director of player personnel Brian Belichick? There are a lot of good possibilities.
Late update note: Wickersham reached out to say that the “dynastic succession” was with regards to the quarterback position instead of the coaching roles. I think the Second Belichick Dynasty is a better storyline.
Finally, there’s the nugget that Belichick thought he could win a Super Bowl with Jimmy Garoppolo. There’s nothing much to add here, but it shows how much the Patriots believe in the new San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
Junod and Wickersham do a good job in the article, which is actually a profile on quarterback Tom Brady and how much longer Brady is going to play in the NFL. They go back and get new stories about Brady’s struggles in 2013 and how he’s turned it around.
Apparently Belichick examined the 2013 season and said, “We gotta be able to throw downfield," an indictment on Brady’s deep ball ability that is now a centerpiece of the Patriots offense. Patriots staffers rolled their eyes at the notion of Brady playing deep into his 40s, and that’s why the Patriots moved to add Garoppolo in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The turning point for Brady might actually come from running back Ivan Fears, who addressed the team after they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at the start of the 2014 season. Apparently Fears “spoke about the importance of attitude, then turned to Brady and, with the entire team looking on, said, ‘Your body language reeks of fear.’”
That must have jump started Brady because now the rest of the league is fearful of facing Brady.