Bill Belichick, New England Patriots split after 24 seasons

Bill Belichick

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bill Belichick, who took New England to nine Super Bowls and won six of them over a 24-season career as the team’s head coach, is parting ways with the Patriots.

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Kraft says Belichick’s exit ‘represents the end of an era’

Update 1:10 p.m. EST Jan. 11: At a news conference on Thursday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Belichick “will forever be celebrated as a legendary sports icon here in New England.”

“This is a move we mutually agreed is needed at this time,” he said, according to WFXT. “It represents the end of an era that will hopefully always be celebrated in this region.”

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Belichick: ‘For me, this is a day of ... gratitude and celebration’

Update 12:45 p.m. EST Jan. 11: At a news conference, Belichick said he was proud of his time with the Patriots and that he will carry memories of the experience with him for the rest of his life.

“For me this is a day of, you know, gratitude and celebration,” he said, thanking Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family.

“It’s an amazing opportunity. I received tremendous support,” he said. “We had a vision of building a winner, building a championship football team here, and that’s exceeded my wildest dreams and expectations, the amount of success that we were able to achieve together, you know, through a lot of hard work and the contributions of so many people.”

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Patriots confirm Belichick’s exit

Update 12:35 p.m. EST Jan. 11: The Patriots confirmed the split in a statement on Thursday.

“The Patriots and Bill Belichick have mutually agreed to part ways,” the statement read.

The team also released a statement from Belichick.

“I will always be a Patriot,” he said. “I look forward to coming back here. But at this time, we’re going to move on. I’m excited about the future.”

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Original report: ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news Thursday morning.

“Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are expected to part ways today after a remarkable 24 seasons together, ending an unmatched run in NFL history that included six Super Bowl titles,” Schefter wrote on social media, saying he got the information from league sources.

Rapoport wrote, “The Patriots are moving on and so is the greatest coach of all time,” adding, “A new era awaits.”

The Associated Press reported that team owner Robert Kraft and Belichick will hold a news conference on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Belichick said he would be willing to give up his role in personnel control, but refused to say that he would be open to coaching another team, our sister station WFXT reported.

The Patriots ended the 2023 season with a 17-3 loss to the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.

Belichick, 71, the winningest active NFL coach and second all-time behind Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, struggled through a 4-13 season in 2023, the worst mark of his 29 seasons as a head coach. He has coached the Patriots since the 2000 season and had a 266-121 regular-season record with New England. He also won 30 playoff games as the Patriots’ coach.

Belichick had a 36-44 record as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995.

His 333 career wins, including the postseason, are second only to Shula’s 347. Belichick’s 2007 squad came the closest to duplicating Shula’s 1972 Miami Dolphins, who had an unbeaten, untied record. The Patriots finished that year with a 16-0 mark — the only team with an unblemished mark in the regular season since the NFL schedule was expanded to 16 games in 1978. New England won two playoff games but was denied a perfect season when it lost Super Bowl XLII 17-14 to the New York Giants in the final 35 seconds.

Belichick’s 31 career playoff wins are the most all-time among NFL head coaches. He led the Patriots to 19 consecutive winning seasons from 2001 to 2019, second only to the 20 achieved by Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry.

In addition to leading the Patriots to nine Super Bowls, Belichick guided New England to nine AFC titles, 17 division crowns and 30 postseason victories, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. The team won 11 consecutive division titles from 2009 to 2019.

With Tom Brady at quarterback, Belichick led New England to victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI and LIII.

In 2018, Belichick led New England to its third consecutive Super Bowl berth, matching Shula. Buffalo’s Marv Levy led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls during the 1990s.

While Brady grabbed most of the offensive limelight — and deservedly so — it was Belichick’s planning, particularly on defense, that helped the Patriots reach the Super Bowl nine times. His defense held the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” squad to 17 points in Super Bowl XXXVI, and he outsmarted Pete Carroll by being prepared for a goal-line pass against Seattle, as Malcolm Butler picked off a pass that preserved a 28-24 victory against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

Belichick became the third coach in NFL history to win 300 games, achieving the feat against — ironically — the Cleveland Browns, in a 27-13 victory on Oct. 27, 2019.

Born April 16, 1952, in Nashville, Tennessee, Stephen William Belichick attended Wesleyan College. His father, Steve Belichick, was a high school football and basketball star, and, later, head football coach at Hiram College in Ohio from 1946 to 1946. The Cleveland Browns practiced at the school during that time, The Athletic reported.

Steve Belichick then launched a long career as a college football assistant, with stops at Vanderbilt (1949-1952), North Carolina (1953-1955) and the U.S. Naval Academy (1956-1989). Bill Belichick attended high school in Annapolis, Maryland, while his father coached at Navy.

Bill Belichick was hired for his first professional job with the Baltimore Colts in 1975. The following year, Belichick accepted a position as an assistant special teams coach with the Detroit Lions. He joined the Denver Broncos in 1978 as an assistant special teams coach and assistant defensive coordinator.

Beginning in 1979, Bill Belichick spent 12 seasons as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. His defensive schemes helped the Giants and Bill Parcells win two Super Bowls in five seasons and led to a head coaching job in Cleveland, The Athletic reported.

Bill Belichick was reunited with Parcells in New England in 1996 as assistant head coach and secondary coach, and then moved with his mentor to the New York Jets in the same capacity from 1997 to 1999.

Information from Pro-Football-Reference.com, newspaper archives and the New England Patriots media guide was used in compiling this report.

Check back for more on this developing story.

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