Bill Belichick has proven with the New England Patriots that he is one of the greatest coaches of all-time. He has won six Super Bowls with the Patriots and has helped lead them to several other AFC Championship Games. However, with Tom Brady now gone, it appears that the Patriots’ dynasty is on its way down. So, who is going to take Belichick’s place as the king of the AFC East? It appears that he has found his successor in Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are on their way down
Bill Belichick became the head coach of the Patriots in 2000, and he ended up building them into one of the greatest dynasties of all-time — with Tom Brady’s help, of course.
The Patriots won three Super Bowls in four seasons from 2001 through 2004. They then reached the Super Bowl again during the 2007 season after going 16-0 that year. They, however, lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. New England then actually lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl again during the 2011 season, but they then went to four Super Bowls in five seasons from 2014 through 2018 and won three of them.
Overall, Belichick and Brady led the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles, three other Super Bowl appearances, and 13 total AFC Championship Games.
However, Brady left and went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2019 season. The Patriots then brought in former NFL MVP Cam Newton but have struggled immensely in 2020, as they are 6-9 through 15 games. They will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and will have a losing record for the first time since 2000, Belichick’s first season in New England.
Sean McDermott and the Buffalo Bills are rising stars in the AFC East
In the years where the Patriots dominated, they won the AFC East in all but one season from 2003 through 2019. So, what team will now take their place as the kings of the AFC East? It appears that it could be the Buffalo Bills.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott worked for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 to 2010. He was then the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers from 2011 through 2016. He even helped the Panthers’ defense become one of the best in the NFL during the 2015 season, as it was a big reason why Carolina went 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl that year.
In 2017, though, McDermott became the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, and in McDermott’s first season, he led the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Then, after going 6-10 with a rookie quarterback in Josh Allen in 2018, the Bills went 10-6 in 2019, their best record since 1999.
This year, though, Allen and the Bills have taken a massive step forward. Buffalo is 12-3 through 15 games, and Allen has thrown for 4,320 yards, 34 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He has also run for 418 yards and eight touchdowns. The Bills also clinched their first division title since 1995.
So, are they going to be the next team to dominate the AFC East?
Bill Belichick has potentially found his replacement
The Bills recently defeated the Patriots 38-9 in Week 16, and while Bill Belichick is typically known for doing short handshakes with opposing coaches, he spent quite some time talking to McDermott.
According to Michael Giardi of NFL Network, Belichick said that he has talked a lot about his admiration for what the Bills have been doing the past few years. McDermott then discussed some of their conversation as well.
“He was very complimentary, and I certainly appreciate that,” McDermott said, according to NBC Sports. “And as you mentioned, a lot of respect for what he’s been able to do. So I just think it says a lot about the way we’re doing things as an organization, not just on the field what people see, but off the field.”
He continued: “He’s a legend in terms of what he’s been able to do and I certainly appreciate that and I’m humbled by it.”
So, game respect game? It appears that Belichick really respects what the Bills are doing, and, with the Bills on the rise and the Patriots seemingly going into a downward trajectory, it appears that Belichick has found his replacement as the king of the AFC East.
Look out AFC, Sean McDermott and the Buffalo Bills are coming.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference