Peter King discussed how much longer he thinks Bill Belichick will coach the Patriots

"He’ll view as part of his legacy the shape he left the franchise."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick during Patriots training camp in 2020. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Bill Belichick is the NFL’s longest tenured coach, has led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins, and is closing in on Don Shula’s all-time wins record.

Yet after a difficult season, with the team in a clear transition following the free agent departure of Tom Brady in 2020, the question remains: How much longer will the 69-year-old remain as New England head coach?

It’s a question that NFL reporter Peter King pondered in his recent “Football Morning in America” column.

“This probably won’t be his last year, and I doubt that 2022 will be. He’s a young 69,” King wrote of Belichick.


In King’s view, it’s tough to picture Belichick — one of the winningest coaches in history — walking away from the Patriots in the team’s current crossroads moment.

“The way Belichick is, I doubt sincerely he’d leave the Patriots with a dim future,” King explained. “He’ll view as part of his legacy the shape he left the franchise.”

Part of that logic helps to explain why New England was so aggressive in the offseason. At the heart of the matter remains the uncertainty at the quarterback position in the post-Brady world. As King sees it, the 2021 draft may have been a legacy-defining moment for Belichick.

“That’s why Mac Jones falling to New England at 15 this year was so important to New England’s long-term future,” King noted. “It allows Belichick to feel like there’s a good chance the team now has its quarterback for the post-Brady period.”

Belichick, a noted student of football history, is undoubtedly aware of his place in it. He’s currently 37 wins away from passing Shula’s record for all-time victories by an NFL head coach (in both regular season and playoffs).

Still, King doesn’t actually see the record as being Belichick’s last frontier.


“It may take Belichick four years to get those 37 wins. Maybe three or five—who knows?” wrote King. “It’s certainly within reach, but I don’t see it being Belichick’s end-game.”

Another factor are Belichick’s children, all of whom are coaches. Facilitating their careers has been one reason the longtime coach has stayed, in King’s view. Belichick himself has spoken about his enjoyment in getting to work alongside both Brian and Stephen with the Patriots.

Ultimately, in King’s view, Belichick — given his achievements — will have the rare freedom to determine the time and place of his eventual retirement.

“Belichick can walk away on his terms, when he wants,” said King. “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.”


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