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On to the next year: Bill Belichick says Super Bowl victory hindered preparation for 2017

Bill Belichick puts the championship in perspective. Here’s the schedule of important NFL events in February, March, and April.

The New England Patriots are reigning Super Bowl Champions and they’ve celebrated their victory parade down the streets of Boston. You know who would rather be back in his office breaking down game tape?

Head coach Bill Belichick.

“The NFL season, the calendar is what it is,” Belichick said during Tom Brady’s Super Bowl MVP award ceremony. “As of today- and as great as today feels and as great as today is- in all honesty we’re five weeks behind on the 2017 season compared to the rest of the teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff with [director of player personnel] Nick Caserio and [director of college scouting] Monti Ossenfort and [director of pro personnel] Dave Ziegler, those guys do a great job.”

Belichick sounds like a hoot at parties.

As for his concerns, Belichick is right. Other teams have been preparing for 2017 since the first week of January; others, like the Browns, have had their eyes on the 2017 NFL Draft since September.

Here are the dates of major upcoming events for the NFL.

February 15th: Teams are able to designate the franchise or transition tag on players. The Patriots could use this on TE Martellus Bennett or LB Dont’a Hightower. No other player makes much sense.

February 28th through March 6th: NFL Combine.

March 7th through March 9th: Legal tampering period. Teams can start negotiating contracts with agents at 12:00 PM EST on the 7th, but are unable to execute the new contract until the start of the league year. Teams still cannot speak with the player directly.

March 9th: 2017 League Year and Free Agency begins. At 4:00 PM EST teams are able to sign free agents.

March 26th to March 29th: Annual League Meeting.

March 21st: Restricted Free Agents must sign offer sheets. The Patriots will likely have to reach a new deal with CB Malcolm Butler by this point.

March 27th: NFL Draft.

Belichick has turned his focus towards the 2017 season and any further lingering on the success of the 2016 season will only serve to hinder his upcoming year.

“I’d say if you don’t do as good of a job with your football team in February, March and April,” Belichick said, “you’re probably going to see that in November and December and January.”

Thanks, Bill.