New England Patriots fans will finally be put out of their misery when the 2023 NFL regular season comes to a close in a few weeks. It's been a tiring last few months for the Patriots faithful, who've dealt with a team that's 3-11 ahead of Week 16, on pace for the franchise's fewest wins since the 1992 campaign.
With Christmas Day less than a week away, it's only fitting to see who's made Santa Claus' Naughty and Nice lists this year. While several Patriots are more than deserving of their fair share of coal this holiday, a handful deserve to have their stockings stuffed after being bright spots during an uninspiring campaign.
Patriots Naughty List #1: Bill Belichick
It's not surprising at all to see Bill Belichick's name atop the Naughty List. After all, the Patriots would likely have a few more wins this season if the 71-year-old made better coaching and roster decisions during the offseason.
While bad teams occasionally have a few things to be proud of any given season, that's hardly been the case for New England. The defense has been decent at times, but the offense is averaging an NFL-worst 13.3 PPG while being held to a single-digit total five times through 14 games (35.7%).
That's without mentioning the headache that stems from giving Mac Jones opportunity after opportunity despite the quarterback's poor play earlier this season.
Belichick's shortcomings this season have also left the franchise in a tricky spot. On one hand, some reports indicate that the eight-time Super Bowl winner could be fired once the regular season ends.
Alternatively, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Belichick being signed through 2024 complicates the issue and could require the sides to mutually part ways due to his status as one of the game's greatest coaches.
While the disastrous year won't erase Belichick's legendary legacy in New England, it's clear that he deserves to be on the Naughty List for his role in the Patriots' current (and potentially future) situation.