In Super Bowl LI, Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn watched helplessly from the sideline as Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots engineered a historic 28-3 comeback to snatch the Lombardi Trophy out of the Falcons' grasp.
Last Thursday, Quinn may have won his most recent matchup with Belichick, as he was tabbed as the Washington Commanders' newest head coach. Quinn's hiring closed out the last vacancy of the hiring cycle, as eight teams will head into the 2024 season with a new head coach in charge (barring a surprise Andy Reid retirement).
One name noticeably absent from those eight new head coaches? Recently unemployed Bill Belichick. The six-time Super Bowl champion parted ways with the New England Patriots on Jan. 11 after nearly a quarter century in charge.
After hitting the unemployment line, Belichick was most heavily connected with the Atlanta Falcons, but the franchise ultimately elected to go with Los Angeles Rams' defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
It was long believed that it was the Falcons or bust for Belichick's coaching hopes in 2024, but in light of Quinn's hiring in Washington, reports have emerged that Belichick was at the very least "considered for the job".
The news that Belichick was considered for the job comes as a slight surprise. Washington was consistently posed as a potential destination for Belichick, but as the offseason played out the he widespread consensus from even those insiders most connected (i.e. Adam Schefter and Peter King) was that Atlanta had been the sole franchise to seriously engage with him.
Now we can parse words over what Schefter defines as "heavy conversations", but there was clearly a sharp contrast between the privacy of any communication between Belichick in the Commanders process versus the transparency of the Falcons tweeting out following each interview.
From the Commanders standpoint, many of their reasons behind their hesitancy towards hiring Belichick echoed those held by the Atlanta Falcons.
"They have concerns about everything from Belichick's age (71) to his willingness to work under a GM who will have control over personnel, to whether he'd even want to take on what could be a years-long rebuilding job."- Ralph Vacchiano
Albert Breer's reporting on the Falcons' decision not to hire Belichick also mentioned his age. Out of the eight coaches hired during this cycle, their average age was 45. Three of the eight hired were under 40, and only two coaches (Quinn and Jim Harbaugh) were over the age of 50. Belichick will turn 72 in April.
Washington pushed back against some parts of the reporting on Belichick, but is likely more of a product of new owner Josh Harris wanting the decision to hire Quinn appear organizationally unanimous than anything else. After the absolute dumpster fire that Dan Snyder ran in Washington, you can't really blame him.
Only a few weeks ago, it had appeared to be Atlanta or bust for Bill Belichick's coaching hopes in 2024. Now, his hopes could very well hinge on an Andy Reid retirement, making it Kansas City or bust.
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