Not even 12 hours after the New England Patriots’ playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night, Bill Belichick took the virtual podium for his end-of-season press conference. Taking 30 minutes to speak about a variety of topics, one thing became quite obvious: Belichick is already on to 2022.
While New England’s head coach pointed out that there would be a scheduling element to the process of turning the page — from review and assessment to preview and long-term planning — he is ready to go through all of it once again. And in case there was any doubt, he also confirmed he would be back with the organization even after its early postseason exit.
“I’d say that would be accurate,” Belichick said when asked about whether he plans to resume his current role this year.
Belichick, who will turn 70 in April, famously mentioned that he could not envision himself coaching into his 70s during the NFL Films A Football Life documentary filmed in 2009. A lot has changed since then, however, and the future Hall of Famer appears to be quite happy with his current occupation.
And so, Belichick and his team are moving into an offseason filled with plenty of questions. Which players and coaches will be back? How will salary cap space and draft capital be spent? Will the issues the Bills successfully exploited get addressed?
All these questions will see their answers in due time, but for now the Patriots are taking their usual one-day-at-a-time approach.
“We all need to step back and catch our breath, take a longer view of things and at some point, we’ll talk about certain situations,” Belichick said. “Players that aren’t under contract, players who whatever their future is or isn’t with the team or whatever their individual situations are, those will all be dealt with at a later point in time. Certainly not today or tomorrow or the next day. ...
“Players will be in tomorrow and wrap things up there and then as a coaching staff, we’ve got things over the next couple months, the normal things that will come up, the draft and pre-free agency and evaluating the season and so forth. We’ll start working on those over a longer period of time. We’ll take that when we get the opportunity to do that here.”
While the NFL playoffs are still ongoing, Belichick has already set his sights on what lies ahead for his team. Welcome to the offseason.