The New England Patriots are 1-5. Their offense is one of the worst in the NFL. Their supposed franchise quarterback does not look like long-term answer. Their head coach is 71 years old.
Long story short: the future of the organization is very much in question right now.
It remains to be seen where the Patriots will go from here, but they are nearing a pivotal point in franchise history: the end of the Bill Belichick era. For years the belief was that Belichick would go out on his own terms, but given the team’s struggles in the post-Tom Brady era and this season in particular some doubt has been cast over that projection.
That said, NFL insider Adam Schefter does not think Belichick will be handed his walking papers on “Black Monday” regardless of how the season plays out.
“First of all, I think he’s treated differently, as he should be, than any other coach,” Schefter said on The Pat McAfee Show. “On a Monday or Sunday night after the season ends, we’ll get three, four, five, six firings of head coaches, and I just don’t think you’re going to get one of these statements [after] the last regular-season game where the Patriots are firing Bill Belichick.
“I just don’t think it works like that when there’s the history and the accomplishments and the resumes and the relationship that there has been between he and Robert Kraft. And so this situation is treated entirely differently.”
Despite Belichick’s status, Schefter does believe he and team owner Robert Kraft will have some unpleasant conversations.
“They’re having the type of season that’s going to warrant those types of questions”, he said, “and everybody’s going to wonder exactly how the situation is going to play out, because nobody thinks that they can continue just like this with the team reeling in a way that we’re not used to seeing, with the offense struggling in a way we’re not used to seeing, with a team performing in a way we’re not used to seeing. This is so abnormal for a team that has been the best team arguably in all of sports over the last couple of decades.
“Bill is 71 years old, and everybody wants to see change, and he has been the guy at the top. Look, I just think there are going to be some hard conversations that naturally occur between he and Robert Kraft, and where those go, I don’t know. Is Bill going to want out? Are they going to want him out? Are they going to decide mutually to end it together? There are a whole bunch of questions about how it will go on.”
Belichick took over as Patriots head coach in 2000, and led the team to six Super Bowls. Since the departure of star quarterback Tom Brady following the 2019 campaign, however, the team has missed the postseason twice in three years; it is currently headed for a third season without a playoff berth.