One of the great mysteries in the NFL today is when the head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, will retire.
Belichick is getting ready to coach his seventh Super Bowl with the Patriots Sunday, in his seventeenth year with the team. He is currently the longest tenured active head coach in the NFL, and 146 different head coaches have been hired by the other 31 NFL teams since he was hired in January of 2000.
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Belichick has been on record as saying that coaching “beats working” and that while he loves what he does, he doesn’t envision himself coaching into his seventies like the great Marv Levy did with the Buffalo Bills in the 1990’s.
"“I don’t really see it as work,” Belichick said earlier this week. “It’s actually beach working. You get to do what you love to do dealing with a lot of great people. I have a great staff. Players work hard and are very cooperative and compliant. They have a great attitude about teamwork, playing unselfishly and working unselfishly."
Still, Belichick hasn’t lost a step even as he approaches his mid sixties (he will be 65 in April). He works out daily in addition to his constant team preparation. But all good things must to come to an end eventually. No one coaches forever. With that in mind, the question remains, “When will Bill Belichick hang it up?”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered some candid insight as to when he thinks Belichick will finally step away from the game.
"“We have a pact that we don’t talk about that,” Kraft said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “He knows and I know. But he won’t be done this year.”"
New England has always been extremely secretive regarding Belichick’s contract and personal information, adding to his already mysterious public persona. But Kraft is a shrewd businessman and will always have the ideal contingency plan should Belichick ever decide to walk away from the game he loves.
Even so, with Super Bowl LI and potential title number five only three days away, Belichick seems to be soaking it all in and enjoying the moment. He may be approaching 65, but when you win nearly three quarters of the games you coach, age doesn’t creep up on you as fast as it would if you were losing three quarters of those games.
That’s why the saying in New England will, at least for the foreseeable future, remain: “death, taxes, and the Patriots in the Super Bowl.”
For more news and updates on the New England Patriots, follow me on Twitter: @mike_hudson12