New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick faced a tremendous challenge in 2020. Not only did Tom Brady leave the team, it also saw numerous other departures and had to deal with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic throughout the year. Add a difficult salary cap situation and a roster with shortcomings especially on offense and you get a recipe for a losing season.
And yet, Belichick was still one of the people who defined the NFL — at least according to veteran sportswriter Peter King. Belichick checked in 24th on his list, coming in the “just missed the cut” category:
24. Bill Belichick, Patriots coach. Every coach who wins six Super Bowls in 18 years is entitled to a mulligan or four. But Belichick chafed at a late-season Tom Curran question about bad recent drafting (“I’m not going to apologize for our record over the last 20 years”), as if to say, Don’t question the master. Football’s unforgiving, and Belichick’s personnel acumen needs a booster shot.
It remains to be seen whether or not Belichick and his team can bounce back, but one thing seems certain: the Patriots are in for another big offseason: they have only one quarterback — backup Jarrett Stidham — under contract beyond this year, have a big free agency class, could lose some key figures both on the coaching staff and the front office, and are projected to be among the league leaders in salary cap space.
If Belichick wants to climb up King’s list next year, and most importantly get the Patriots back to track, he and his team will have to maneuver through the offseason better than they were able to do in 2020.