For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, Bill Belichick’s status as head coach of the New England Patriots is legitimately in question. The long-time lead skipper is among the winningest coaches in league history, but success has been fleeting in the post-Tom Brady era.
The Patriots, who currently sit at 2-9, just clinched their third losing season in the past four years. This has led many to speculate that New England and 71-year-old Belichick might agree to a mutual parting of ways at this season’s end.
Whether or not that comes to pass remains to be seen, but the possibility alone has some pondering whether Belichick might end his historic coaching career in another locale. One that very recently created a relevant job opening, to be more specific.
Bill Belichick Coaching for the Carolina Panthers?
Ben Volin drummed up interest in the above question on Tuesday afternoon, writing about the possibility of Belichick coaching for the Carolina Panthers in a piece published by The Boston Globe.
Keep a close eye on Belichick to Carolina https://t.co/omoeh2wSWS
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 29, 2023
The proposed union might seem far-fetched at first. Picturing Belichick outside the confines of New England — his NFL home for a quarter of a century — is admittedly hard to do. But the Panthers, having recently fired Frank Reich, will be in the market for a new head coach this offseason, and Belichick, should he and New England indeed sever ties, is said to want to continue coaching.
Volin expanded on the logic behind the proposed union in his story, citing the (relative) proximity from Charlotte, N.C., to Belichick’s homes in Nantucket, Mass., and Florida, among a host of other reasons.
“Carolina is a quiet market with a small media scene that Belichick could easily handle,” Volin wrote. “He’d be far away from the Patriots in the NFC South, and wouldn’t have to face them until 2025. His arrival would likely be welcomed by Panthers fans, who are tired of watching losing teams led by nameless, faceless coaches.”
Former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton further discussed the pairing as well. Newton, who played under Belichick in New England, said that he believes Carolina’s owner David Tepper would be “hoping that he can land Bill Belichick.”
Cam Newton in the latest episode of his "4th&1" YouTube series:
"I think (David) Tepper, knowing what I do know, he's hoping that he can land Bill Belichick. That right there will be a win-win-win-win for David Tepper."
But why would Belichick even want to join the Panthers?…
— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) November 29, 2023
Belichick would certainly have his work cut out for him trying to mold the Panthers into a contender. But he has a potential lynchpin in quarterback Bryce Young and some standout defenders to rely on in Brian Burns and Frankie Luvu. He might not be charging for any Super Bowls with Carolina, but the cupboard isn’t so barren that he couldn’t make a run at the all-time wins record, a mark of which he currently trails Don Shula by 16 victories.
As expected, the fan reaction on X (formerly known as Twitter), was comprised largely of skepticism and doubt:
“He’s no good without Brady. Just ask Browns fans,” one X user said.
“So y’all trust Bill Belichick to put together a staff that will help Bryce Young develop? Have y’all not seen Mac Jones?” said another user.
“Bro, no!” another poster exclaimed. “Bryce needs a new coach or an offensive coordinator to run a modern spread offense with RPOs. It best fits Bryce’s skills and it’s what he ran in college.”
“Everyone saying no is absolutely off of their rocker,” another defended. “No coach in the league commands that locker room with respect and professionalism more than Bill does.”
“Everyone saying Bill is washed, don’t know ball. He got 1 QB wrong in the draft in 30 years,” responded another user.
Evidently, opinions are split on whether or not Belichick would find success with the Panthers. One thing’s for sure, he would find himself in plenty of headlines if he swapped team hoodies for the first time since the turn of the century.
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