It’s been a two-decade-long love affair between the former “Boston Sports Guy,” Bill Simmons, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The latter has brought the former countless hours of joy and six Super Bowls to celebrate since taking over the Patriots in 2000. But now, four seasons after Belichick won his last Big Game, the man who once wrote that a “true fan” must give his team a five-year grace period after a championship, now wants Belichick out as coach of the Patriots after one of the most indefensible losses in NFL history during the team Week 15 game vs. the Las Vegas Raiders.
Bill Simmons broke his own rule (No. 12) and turned on Bill Belichick
“After your team wins a championship, they immediately get a five-year grace period: You can’t complain about anything that happens with your team (trades, draft picks, salary-cap cuts, coaching moves) for five years. There are no exceptions. For instance, the Pats could finish 0-80 over the next five years and I wouldn’t say a peep. That’s just the way it is. You win the Super Bowl, you go on cruise control for five years. Everything else is gravy.”
Those are the words of former ESPN Page 2 columnist, podcast host, Grantland and The Ringer founder, and Any Given Wednesday host Bill Simmons. He wrote them on Page 2 in the early 2000s (possibly 2002) in his piece, “Rules for being a true fan.”
Maybe Simmons should go back and re-read those words because, in 2022, four seasons after Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots brought a sixth NFL championship to the Boston area, Simmons is ready for the Belichick Era to end.
“It’s time. Belichick needs to retire,” Simmons told Cousin Sal on The Bill Simmons Podcast shortly after Nephew Kyle turned the Tik Tok camera on.
The host then continued, ironically, by citing an old column of his from around 2006 when he wrote about Bill Parcells losing his coaching fastball. At that time, he noted that “after coaches turn 55, it starts to get dicey.”
Belichick is now 70, and that is the main reason Simmons “would much rather see him retire than watch this for four more years.”
Simmons backed up his take with plenty of well-thought-out reasons that Belichick should go. As he says, “This is not a Patriots team. This is a team that f**** up every quarter, over and over and over again. Delay of games. Stupid penalties. Dumb decisions. Bad game management. They never would have blown a game like this 10 years ago.”
He then places the blame more on Belichick’s assistants like Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, but still says he wants the legendary coach to go.
In a vacuum, it’s not an outrageous argument. But after all Belichick has given to the Boston area, it seems only fair he’s allowed to coach for as long as he wants. And it seems especially short-sighted to call for his head as the team is rebuilding on the fly after 20 years of dominance.
What it seems to come down to more than anything is this: After 12 championships in the last 22 years by the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins, Simmons has become the fan he hated back then, not only breaking rule No 12, but rule No. 14 as well:
“Just because you supported a team that won a championship, it doesn’t give you the right to turn into a pompous, insufferable schmuck. Remember this.”