When the New England Patriots and their head coach of 24 years, Bill Belichick, parted ways on Jan. 11, the general consensus was that the legendary coach's stint on the unemployment line would be brief.
Now, it looks like Belichick's coaching status in 2024 could come down to one team.
Appearing Monday on the Pat McAfee show, NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that the Atlanta Falcons "are the only team so far that has engaged in heavy conversations with Bill Belichick." The Atlanta Falcons completed their second interview with Belichick on Friday.
Writing Monday morning, Peter King of NBC Sports expressed similar surprise regarding the lack of interest in the legendary coach.
"I believe we’ve all assumed Belichick was going to get a high-quality job, or at least, in the case of the Falcons, a decent job. Now the question is: Will he get one at all?"- Peter King
A second interview is a good sign for Belichick in Atlanta, but he is far from the only Falcons' candidate as the team appears to be doing their due diligence and interviewing an extensive list of candidates.
Rumors also emerged on Monday that Falcons owner Arthur Blank wants to hire Belichick, but that his front office is not in favor out of fear that Belichick would turn football operations into a totalitarian dictatorship.
The landscape around the league has also impacted the lack of interest. Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick in cahoots in Dallas would have been box office, but the Cowboys have decided to run it back with Mike McCarthy. After a late season implosion, Nick Sirianni's job in Philadelphia also came under some uncertainty, but his job appears to be safe for the 2024 season. A partnership with the Washington Commanders, who Belichick had also been linked to, hasn't materialized either as the team has reportedly met with a litany of candidates while steering clear of the former Patriots head coach. The Los Angeles Chargers had been a rumored destination, but it doesn't appear that the Chargers have kicked the tires on Belichick either, while Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is expected to meet with the team for a second interview this week.
If the Atlanta job does ultimately go to someone else and Belichick sits out the 2024 season, it should be interesting to see if that impacts his perceived value for the next hiring cycle. Belichick needs 15 wins to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula as the winningest coach in NFL history, a mark that has to be top of mind for the 71-year-old. Belichick has always shown an immense infatuation for the history of the game, so it is hard to imagine him riding off into the sunset before he stamps his name atop the record book.
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