Report: New England Patriots owner has discussed potential Bill Belichick exit plan

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The end could be coming for Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots, with owner Robert Kraft reportedly already having talks about a potential exit plan for the legendary head coach.

While Belichick’s departure doesn’t seem guaranteed, it does sound like “discussions have taken place.”

“These discussions have taken place, and I can tell you for sure, Robert hears the criticism,” said Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “He hears the anger locally, and people in the building know for a fact that he’s hearing the anger from the fan base. He’s very cognizant of where his team is in the pecking order of NFL teams, as well. They’re not a marquee team, and he took a lot of pride in them being a marquee team for two decades.”

New England is 1-5 heading into its game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. It is decidedly unfamiliar territory for the Patriots and Belichick, who have won the Super Bowl six times under his guidance.

Now in his 24th season with New England, the 71-year-old has 299 career regular season NFL wins as a head coach, just 29 behind the all-time record held by Don Shula.

That milestone 300th victory has remained elusive this season, with the Patriots’ only win coming against the New York Jets in Week 3. They have been outscored 93-20 during a current three-game losing streak that was extended by a 21-17 setback at the Las Vegas Raiders last Sunday.

New England, with struggling quarterback Mac Jones, has one of the worst offenses in the NFL this season, ranking 27th in yards per game and 31st in points per game. The Patriots defense has not been much better, ranking 25th in points allowed per game.

With a game against the Miami Dolphins following the upcoming contest with the Bills, it may take some time for the Patriots to turn things around, if they are able to at all. They do have home games against the Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts before their bye week, so better results may be on the horizon.

But it still is likely to fall far short of the standard set under Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, who combined to help the Patriots reach the Super Bowl nine times in an 18-season span. New England missed the playoffs last season and is in danger of doing so again this time around.

It once seemed inevitable that Belichick would pass Shula and hold all the significant coaching records on his way to the Hall of Fame. Recent results have made setting that wins record look more and more unlikely and could spell the end of an era in New England and the NFL in general.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.