NFL Rumors: New England Patriots Head Coach's Future Uncertain

The New England Patriots are coming off another disappointing season, and their owner Robert Kraft is certainly not inclined to make a habit of it. SI's Albert Breer appeared on Toucher and Rich earlier today to discuss the possibility that the Patriots and their head coach Bill Belichick could be headed for a split with another underwhelming campaign.

"I think there’d have to be some sort of mitigating factor on top of a losing record," Breer said, "because I think it’d just be so hard to just flat out fire him."

Belichick is one of the most accomplished head coaches in NFL history: his six Super Bowl wins are the most of all time, and his 298 career regular season wins trail only Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts legend Don Shula's 328. Parting ways with Belichick before he can pass Shula would be harsh but not unprecedented. Fellow Patriots legend Tom Brady broke the career record for passing yards with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.

That split with Brady may very well be the catalyst for Belichick's undoing. The Patriots have stumbled to a 25-25 record in the years since the GOAT left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The franchise is not used to mediocrity: in 19 seasons with Brady as their leading passer, the Patriots never finished with a losing record or worse than 12th in points scored. They've fallen short of both those thresholds in two of their past three seasons. Overall, Belichick sports a 79-87 record in games played without Brady.

Kraft has been reticent to offer his head coach much support lately. He recently gushed about current linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and expressed optimism that he could be the Patriots' head coach of the future. He also hesitated to commit to Belichick beyond this season at the owner's meetings this week.

Belichick is the NFL's second oldest coach (behind only Pete Carrol), and he has earned the right to leave the NFL on his own terms. But if Kraft has any lingering resentment over how things ended with Brady, it's possible the Patriots could gently nudge Belichick toward retirement or frame a split as a mutual parting of ways. 

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