The rumor mill in New England is on overdrive recently as the gossip continues, and new speculation is thrown out there almost every day. Predominately, the focus of the chatter is Bill Belichick and his future, or lack thereof, in New England, with rumors contradicting others within hours of being published.
That's the most recent drama surrounding the head coach, as the latest reported rumor suggested that Robert Kraft had already made the decision to fire him. In fact, it had been made several weeks ago when the Patriots lost big time against the Colts in Germany.
Despite being an obvious rumor, it was picked up by every national sports news source and reported as fact. The rumor source, Tom Curran, backtracked his statement a bit the following day, but most of the media believe the Patriots and Belichick will have a breakup as soon as the season concludes.
Although it may inevitably come to fruition, Ian Rapoport revealed on Saturday afternoon that no decision has been made regarding Belichick's future just yet. The last four games will allegedly play a factor in the final decision, which the insider claims could take longer than anticipated.
"While the expectation is that a decision on his future will play out over the next month, sources also say it could take longer than that."
Given how long Belichick has been the head coach and general manager in New England, it's understandable why a decision may not be imminent. Not many coaches in the history of the league have coached as long or longer than his 23 seasons with the Patriots, so Robert Kraft not jumping the gun should be encouraged.
That's what Rapoport says is the case right now, with Kraft undecided and willing to consider all factors when finally determining what is best to do for the team. He will allegedly include how the team fares over the last month of the season in the decision-making process, which could possibly work in Belichick's favor.
"Sources say not only has owner Robert Kraft not come to a firm conclusion on what will happen next with his head-coaching situation, but the way New England finishes could go a long way in determining what's next.
If they beat the Chiefs on Sunday and run off a string of wins, that could lead to the kind of hope and good feeling that can change minds and make an owner who believed his team should be a playoff team feel like it's headed in the right direction."
Taking the results of the final four games of the season into account to help make an ultimate decision has many fans unsure if that makes the most sense. Just because they beat the Steelers on a short week or may add a few more wins to finish the year doesn't necessarily mean Belichick should stay or move on.
It may be a way to provide some leniency to the accomplished head coach since he has been a pillar of the Patriots' success over the last two decades. But sometimes, teams can go on a run or fall flat on their face after an impressive season. Neither scenario accurately depicts what the team is capable of, nor does it provide much context in deciding if a head coach should remain or not.
There's a lot to consider when determining the best course of action with Belichick. He's a respected figure in the league, has accomplished things others can only dream of, and has made a tremendous impact on the organization. At the same time, the last four seasons have been the farthest thing from impressive, which Kraft will have to shine a light on as well since he has repeatedly emphasized his desire for the team to become competitive again.
As the main priority for the 2024 season, anything can happen, even Belichick remaining in New England.
Unfortunately, the rumors about what will or won't happen will continue until the news inevitably breaks, and the contradicting rumors will surely not stop until then. The team has made it clear they won't be commenting on the matter, so as fun as it is to speculate, waiting for the actual decision seems like the best course of action.