Mazz: Why, exactly, must the Patriots wait to fire Bill Belichick?
Serious question: why, exactly, must the Patriots wait to fire Bill Belichick?
The answer is seemingly obvious, of course, at least if you believe in this line of thinking: Over the last 24 years, Bill has earned the right to finish out this season. And it’s true. He has. And yet, after a day like yesterday, when the Patriots dropped a 10-7 decision to the moribund New York Giants, one can’t help but conclude that the 2023 Patriots are actually getting worse, an astonishing statement unto itself. Were that the only problem, the Patriots could bite the bullet and let the year play out before Robert Kraft executed an “elegant solution” with the arguably the greatest coach in league history and indisputably the greatest in the existence of the franchise.
Here’s the problem: the Patriots seem to be growing more dysfunctional at an even faster rate. Players are openly arguing with positional coaches. Receivers and the quarterback are repeatedly miscommunicating. And, most important, after a week during which repeatedly told “everyone to be ready,” the Pats looked more unprepared and rattled than ever, missing chip shot field and throwing uncontested interceptions. On their first third-down play of the game, in fact, the Patriots dew a delay-of-game penalty.
Does that look and sound like a team that is focused?
Before we got too far here, let’s make something clear here: The decision to fire Bill Belichick shouldn’t be an option. As downright insulting as he can be to media and fans alike – and in this case, they are one and the same – Belichick’s final days with the Pats shouldn’t (and can’t) undo what he accomplished starting in 2000. There was just too much winning. But after the shenanigans Belichick pulled last week when he turned the quarterback competition into a quiz show, there was the belief (or hope) that Belichick was tightening the screws as the Pats prepared for the New York Giants, who are also in the running for Worst Team in the NFL.
Instead, the Pats got skunked … again … this time by a Jersey guy named Tommy Devito. In the process, Belichick wrought further damage on Mac Jones, who has regressed so far into his rookie year (and beyond?) that he’s doing his breathing exercises again. If Kraft truly cared about his young quarterback today, he’d do one of three things. He’d fire Belichick. Or he’d tell Belichick to sit Jones. Or both.
Will any of this happen? Maybe … or maybe not. At this stage, who the #*?& really knows? With six games to play, the Patriots are 2-9 and just lost what may have been the most winnable game on their schedule. A 2-15 finish – which would match the franchise record for losses – is entirely in play. Should that be the outcome, many would undoubtedly celebrate the resulting, accompanying draft pick that comes with such gross ineptitude. For Belichick, oddly, it would serve as his parting gift to a region he elevated to unprecedented heights.
The ironic thing?
Today, if you gave him truth serum, I’m not sure Belichick himself would admit that he wants to be here to present it.