Bill Belichick can feel good about his team’s trip to New York in Week 8. Not only did his New England Patriots beat the division rival Jets with a final score of 22-17 to improve to 4-4 on the season, he has now also moved in sole possession of the second all-time spot in career wins for a head coach.
The win over the Jets, coincidentally the team that Belichick left to join New England in 2000, was his 325th overall. As a result, he has broken a tie with legendary Chicago Bears head coach George Halas and is now only 22 victories behind Don Shula’s record of 347.
Speaking to the media after the game, Belichick deflected praise for the milestone onto the the people he has worked with through the years.
“We can talk about that when it’s over, add them up at the end here,” Belichick said. “But it’s good to come down and win. Happy for our team, and appreciate all the great players that we’ve had that won those games.
“Had a couple of them in the locker room there, besides our players — guys like [Devin ]McCourty and [Matthew] Slater — [Jerod] Mayo, Troy Brown, those guys won a lot of games for us, for me. Really, those are team wins.”
The bulk of Belichick’s wins came as head coach of the Patriots. He joined the organization with 37 victories on his résumé from his time with the Cleveland Browns between 1991 and 1995, and has since added 288 victories in New England — including six that came in the Super Bowl.
Belichick’s status as an all-time great is without question, and it is also not lost on his players. Several of them spoke about their head coach moving up the all-time wins list after the victory over the Jets.
“Wanted to give a huge congratulations to Coach Belichick on his accomplishment,” said quarterback Mac Jones. “Obviously, he’s done a great job here. It’s just a blessing to be able to play for him. Obviously we don’t do the whole individual awards, but that’s a big one. To be his quarterback right now is a huge blessing.”
Jones has been part of 14 of Belichick’s victories, same as linebacker Matthew Judon.
“We’re very proud of our coach,” the Pro Bowl defender said. “He tells us players are winning games, but he won all of those games. He game-planned, he did the film, he did the preparation, he did the study and he put his players in a position to make plays. Him being second all-time that’s just a compliment to him as a coach, the longevity that he’s had, and just the success that he’s had.”
With only 10 games left on the Patriots’ regular season schedule, and no more than four postseason contests to played as well, Belichick will not be able to tie Shula’s record this year. He is moving closer, however, even though he is not concerned about any of this — at least when talking to the public about it.