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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Will Bill Belichick be the Head Coach of the New England Patriots by the start of the 2018 NFL Regular Season?

Will Bill Belichick be the Head Coach of the New England Patriots

Bill Belichick
1st Regular Season Game of 2018

The New England Patriots have a well-deserved and much-needed week off heading into the AFC playoffs. The Patriots won an unprecedented ninth consecutive AFC East Division title finishing the regular season 13-3 and earning the conference’s top seed which includes home-field advantage throughout the postseason. New England has a shot at becoming the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs since, well, since they did it themselves in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. And when it’s over, it may all come to an end.

Future Hall of Famer and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and legendary head coach Bill Belichick have made the news recently not for all of their accomplishments – which are many – but for a bubbling feud that may have finally reached an impasse. In the middle of it all is franchise owner Robert Kraft. He is trying to resolve the problems between his coach and best player.

The rift between the two begs the question of whether or not Belichick will be the Patriots head coach at the start of next season.

Belichick has been New England’s head coach for the past 18 seasons. Why would he leave?. He is a healthy-looking 65 years old. He appears to have several years left in the tank even though the grind of an NFL season is taxing. Retirement has never come up in any conversation and Belichick is far from done leaving his mark on the NFL.

What has the potential to make Belichick leave?. It’s the issue with Brady, and it’s not really Brady but Brady’s so-called health, fitness, and nutrition guru Alex Guerrero. Brady’s trainer, body coach, and business partner, Guerrero has caused the majority of the problems between head coach and quarterback. Guerrero helped Brady release his first book called “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance,”. A work that is part diet and fitness guide, part strength training guide, and part mental training blueprint.

Bill BelichickBelichick actually allowed Guerrero access to Patriots players, meetings, and more figuring since he had Brady’s best interests in mind he would be good for the rest of the team. When Guerrero began blaming Patriots’ trainers for players not recovering quickly enough and being worse off after their training methods, Belichick second-guessed his decision. He eliminated Guerrero’s access to the team even though he is still working with Brady.

Guerrero, who claims a degree in traditional Chinese medicine from now-defunct Samra University, paid a settlement to the Federal Trade Commission after claiming certain dietary supplements could cure cancer.

Guerrero is just part of the problem though. Former Patriots and now San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garropolo plays a role too. New England drafted the Eastern Illinois product in 2014 with the idea of grooming him to become Brady’s eventual replacement. It was about this time when Guerrero began hanging around the Patriots and Brady expressed interest in playing into his 40s.

Garoppolo would become a free agent after the 2017 season, so the Patriots began making him offers to keep him as Brady’s backup and eventual replacement. Kraft and New England made offers in the $17 to $18 million per year range. However the Garoppolo camp said no. The Patriots received numerous offers to trade their backup but decided to hang on to him. Finally, Kraft instructed Belichick to trade Garoppolo.

Therein is another big problem. Belichick is not just the Patriots head coach. He also has authority over all Patriots football operations, including those involving personnel. Belichick isn’t supposed to take orders from Kraft. The veteran coach believes owners shouldn’t be involved in football decisions. He is surely upset by Kraft’s order to make the trade.

So, now what?. The Patriots await Wild Card weekend and the lowest-seeded team that remains when it is all complete. Despite all of the team’s issues, New England has the second-highest scoring offense (28.6 points per game) in the league and is fifth in points allowed per game (18.5). Brady turned in another Pro Bowl-worthy season with 4,577 yards passing and 32 touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski earned All-Pro honors for his 69 receptions, 1,084 yards, and eight touchdowns. The defense, though it gives up plenty of yards, doesn’t give up points by the bunches.

New England is favored again to reach Super Bowl LII and, win or not, the Brady-Belichick pairing will earn another piece of history. In 18 seasons, the two have won 15 division titles, 7 conference championships, and five Super Bowls. The coach and quarterback have reached the Super Bowl seven times, and the eighth could be the last.

Bill Belichick does not like being told what to do, especially when it comes to Patriots’ football decisions. Neither does Brady, whose trainer or body coach, or whatever title he is going by today, is not going anywhere either. The two plus Kraft have managed 18 seasons. Can they make through many more?.

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