New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is in his 39th season as an NFL coach. Often times sporting his infamous cutoff hoodie, the stoic Belichick is widely considered to be one of the best head coaches in all of football for his intricate play designs and style of football — in other words, being a genius when it comes to the X’s and O’s. It was Belichick, after all, who is the only head coach in the history of the NFL to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span. Living by the motto “In Bill We Trust” after all these years, Patriots fans should now take a step back and consider the current situation of the team following the 26-16 loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game. In many eyes, the Patriots largely exceeded expectations this season.
Belichick is one of a very small group of NFL coaches who have general manager authority as well. Perennially regarded as a top team in the AFC, the Patriots surprisingly have not won a Super Bowl title since 2004. While they made it to the Super Bowl in 2007, following a perfect 18-0 regular season, and in 2011, they were unable to bring home the victories. Based on the culture that Belichick developed in New England, every season is “Super Bowl or bust.” In that sense, they have become the New York Yankees of the NFL.
However, they can’t be further from the Yankees’ methodology when it comes to payroll. In the offseason, Belichick refused to pay star wide receiver Wes Welker the extra few million dollars needed in order to keep him in New England. Tom Brady even took a pay cut and restructured his deal seemingly to allow for this to happen. But Belichick refused to budge and let him walk, opting instead to sign the injury-prone Danny Amendola in hopes that he could put up similar numbers. Welker caught over 111 balls five times during his six seasons in New England and amassed over 1,165 yards five times, including 1,569 in 2011. Amendola played every game of the season just once in his five-year career and only played 12 games this season, catching 54 balls for 633 yards and two touchdowns. That didn’t work out so well.
If you were watching the AFC Championship, you might have seen that Tom Brady was throwing to Austin Collie. Yep, that Austin Collie: the one who was washed up like five years ago. Ever since Randy Moss got traded in 2010 — which made no sense for Belichick to do — the Patriots have not had a vertical threat at the receiver position. Not a single one. With Tom Brady throwing the ball as well as ever, you can leave it up to your imagination what he could do with weapons like Peyton Manning has in Denver.
The Patriots have traded draft pick after draft pick and have not found any offensive playmakers in the process. Instead of drafting proven playmakers, it seems as though Belichick prefers to go with guys who he can “transform” like the Julian Edelman’s of the world. Unfortunately, not many of them turned out into the success that Edelman has.
When Brandon Marshall, Mike Wallace, Vincent Jackson and Pierre Garcon were all the trading block or free agents, Belichick didn’t give them the time of day. Can you just imagine how the whole landscape of the team would be changed if just one of those players dressed up in Foxboro alongside No. 12? Undrafted free agents and old veterans won’t get it done.
In conclusion, Belichick is a genius when it comes to the X’s and O’s but not so much when it comes to making personnel decisions. Often times caught up with the untapped potential of prospects, he seems to draft players out of what they might become and not who they currently are. His unwillingness to pay free agents who would undoubtedly make the life of his Hall of Fame quarterback a lot easier is questionable, and for those reasons he should step down as GM of the team at this point and stick to do what he does best: coaching.