Patriots: Can Bill Belichick beat Don Shula’s all-time wins record?

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Not many NFL records have been able to stand the test of time, but Dona Shula’s all-time wins record is the rare outlier.

The Dolphins legend became the league’s winningest head coach in 1993 and finished with 328 wins (347 including the playoffs) for his career.

Shula’s record hasn’t been threatened since he retired from coaching in 1995, but Bill Belichick might soon have something to say about it.

The Patriots legend currently sits at 280 wins (311 including the playoffs), ranking third all-time behind Shula and George Halas.

When it comes to the latter’s record, Belichick is just 39 regular season wins from supplanting Halas for the second spot. As for the former, the six-time champ is just 49 regular season wins (just 36 if you include playoffs) from leapfrogging Shula.

That got us thinking about how much longer Belichick will have to coach in order to position himself to break the late Hall of Famer’s long-standing record?

How much longer does Bill Belichick need to coach to become the winningest head coach in NFL history?

We obviously can’t say for certain how long it’ll take, but now that the NFL has instilled a 17-game season, Belichick will probably need to coach at the very least another four seasons, though five is the more realistic number, to beat Shula’s record.

While Belichick is as obsessed with winning as any coach we can remember and has shown zero indications of retiring anytime soon, it’s far from a sure thing that he passes Shula. After all, he’d have to coach into his mid-70s, and that’s an extreme rarity in the NFL.

If you take a look around the league, Belichick and the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll are the oldest coaches at 69 years old (Belichick is a few months older).

Though Belichick seems keen on coaching for another handful of seasons — why else would he spend the most he ever has in free agency this offseason? — that could change on a dime if the Patriots won another title and he wanted to retire as a champion.

There are just so many factors at play. Like, for instance, what if Mac Jones realizes his potential and becomes the Pats’ new franchise quarterback? That could not only help Belichick’s pursuit of Shula’s record, but it could potentially incentivize him to stick around longer.

Bottom line? Belichick is undoubtedly aware of how close he is to the record. When you consider the 69-year-old has lapped Shula in terms of championships, something tells us he won’t retire (assuming his health holds up) until he has the record all to himself.

If that’s the case, Pats fans will have at least another four years of Belichick.