On the whole, professional sports are a young man’s game. While coaches get a bit more rope than your average player, even they can’t hang around forever. New England Patriots boss Bill Belichick, for example, is starting to hit the upper end of that age range at 69.
Fans in Foxborough, however, probably don’t have too much to worry about. According to Peter King, Belichick doesn’t seem ready to retire within the next two NFL seasons.
Bill Belichick is 69 years old and has discussed age 70 in the past
While the 2020 NFL season was a bit of a kick in the teeth, Belichick is still one of professional football’s most successful coaches. Father Time, however, doesn’t care about anyone’s resume.
As noted above, age is less of a factor for coaches; while no NFL job is easy, those on the sidelines don’t face the same physical grid as the men battling in the trenches. With that being said, though, Belichick is still getting up there in age. He’ll turn 70 in April 2022 and, by that point, will be nearing his 50th year in professional football.
While 70 isn’t a magical age at which he’ll love all of his coaching ability, the number does have some significance for Belichick. In 2009, the coach said that he didn’t want to be like Marv Levy and planned to call it a career before reaching his 70s. He’s since walked back those comments, though, explaining that he didn’t really know what age 70 would feel like.
Although many suspect that Belichick will want to break Don Shula’s all-time wins record before retiring, one thing remains clear: the legendary coach sits firmly in the back nine of his career.
Bill Belichick probably has at least two seasons left, according to Peter King
If you’ve ever watched a Belichick press conference, you’ll know that the head coach isn’t the most forthcoming man in the NFL. While that tight-lipped nature extends to his potential retirement plans, a respected insider believes the Patriots’ boss won’t be leaving Foxborough for at least two more years.
In a recent NBC column, Peter King addressed Belichick’s future. While he admitted that the coach’s future remains a mystery, he did provide a dose of optimism for Patriots fans everywhere.
This probably won’t be his last year, and I doubt that 2022 will be. He’s a young 69, maybe not in the effervescent way of fellow 69er Pete Carroll (seven months older than Belichick).Peter King, writing for NBC Sports
The veteran scribe also spelled out three other beliefs about Belichick’s future. In King’s mind, the coach won’t leave the Patriots if they’re in a bad spot; he’s also not too concerned about breaking Shula’s record and probably wanted to get his children embedded in their careers before riding off into the sunset.
“Belichick can walk away on his terms, when he wants,” King concluded. “And if the team progresses the way he thinks it will, he can walk away feeling good about the future of what he leaves behind.”
Could Matt Patricia be the heir to the Patriots’ top job?
As King himself noted, it’s unclear when Belichick will retire; it’s possible that the head coach himself doesn’t even know when he’ll call it a career. Recent news, however, will have Patriots fans looking to Matt Patricia as a potential name for the future.
Although he left New England for a (failed) head coaching job in Detroit, Patricia has returned to Foxborough ahead of the 2021 campaign. He’s not listed on the Patriots’ official coaching roster but is acting as somewhat of an assistant to Belichick. The former defensive coordinator has been hitting the practice field, signing off on contracts, and seemingly doing everything in between.
While the early suspicion is that Patricia will fill more of an executive role — perhaps replacing Nick Caserio — it’s also theoretically possible that he could be in line for a return to coaching. Belichick has found great success wearing dual hats as the Patriots head coach and general manager. Maybe Patricia is simply gaining front office experience to compliment the coaching part of his resume.
No matter how you feel about Patricia and his NFL resume, though, replacing Bill Belichick will surely be a massive task for whoever steps into New England’s top job. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting for that role to open up…even if that won’t be for a couple of years.