For the last 24 years, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have been synonymous, intertwined at every step. Even following their parting of the ways on Jan. 11, that interconnective dynamic is still very much in play.
Belichick and the Atlanta Falcons met on two separate occasions regarding the team's vacant head coaching position. In the early stages of their courtship, it appeared likely that the eight-time Super Bowl champion was the leader in the clubhouse.
On Thursday, the Falcons ultimately hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their new head coach, leaving Belichick at the altar. Atlanta is the only team that Belichick has interviewed with, and he reportedly "thought he had the Falcons in his back pocket".
With the vacancy in Atlanta filled, it is looking like a very realistic possibility that the legendary coach could be without a job for the 2024 season.
Beyond the reported damage done to Belichick's ego, the Falcons' decision to move forward with Morris has some interesting ramifications back in Foxborough.
Firstly, Steve Belichick, Bill's eldest son, has been on staff in New England since 2012 and has fostered a "great relationship" with new head coach Jerod Mayo over the years. Only a few days following Bill's exodus from Foxborough, a surprising report emerged that Mayo had extended offers to both sons to remain in New England.
Last week, further context was added that should Steve Belichick return to the Patriots, it would likely be as an assistant head coach/senior advisor to Mayo. Steve Belichick has functioned as the team's defensive playcaller in the past and now with the possibility of "assistant head coach" being added to his title, his inclusion on New England's staff shouldn't be scoffed at.
Secondly, since being canned by the Las Vegas Raiders, a reunion between long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the Patriots has been rumored. McDaniels has served as the Patriots offensive coordinator for 14 seasons across two separate stints.
Patriots Rumors: Josh McDaniels Return Seems More Likely Now
With him leading the offense, New England produced a top- ten scoring offense in 12 of those 14 seasons, including five years as the league's highest- scoring offense. If Falcons' owner Arthur Blank had decided to move forward with Belichick, it seems like a surefire bet that McDaniels' would have taken command of Atlanta's offense.
There was always speculation Belichick could get the band back together at his next stop with the likes of McDaniels, Matt Patricia, and Joe Judge. With Morris officially tabbed as the man for the job in Atlanta, McDaniels now isn't a lock for 2024 employment either. The odds of his return to Foxborough just skyrocketed with Belichick being passed over.
One additional ramification from the Morris hiring: Patriots' offensive coordinator candidate Zac Robinson is off the board. On Sunday, Robinson was hired by Morris as the Falcons' offensive coordinator. Robinson, previously the Rams' quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, had interviewed with the Patriots last Tuesday. The former NFL quarterback was a seventh-round pick by the Patriots in 2010.
Even though he is no longer roaming the building in Foxborough, Belichick's presence is far from expunged, and it will remain that way for years to come.