Belichick is in danger of breaking a record he wants no part of originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Bill Belichick once flippantly declared he wouldn’t be Marv Levy, coaching into his 70s, and too bad he didn’t keep his word, because he could’ve spared his legacy an absolute shellacking.
Belichick could teach a graduate-level course on the game’s great coaches, as anyone who has ever heard him hold court on Paul Brown or Curly Lambeau can attest. He knows their highs, he knows their lows, and deep down he knows he’s going out as badly as any of them.
Fresh off another demoralizing loss, this one to the punchless Colts in Germany, Belichick now faces the real possibility that not only will his career end with an even quieter whimper than the likes of Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, or Dan Reeves, but that he will become Willie-Mays-with-the-Mets-like shorthand for the coach who suffers a staggering fall from grace.
Belichick has a chance to deliver the worst final season of any great coach in history, and for the purposes of this exercise, we’re assuming he retires with his 72nd birthday looming rather than starting over elsewhere. Of course, the allure of breaking Don Shula’s wins record may prove irresistible, so we’ll see.
Speaking of Shula, he’s often cited as a cautionary tale, as if Belichick wouldn’t want to similarly embarrass himself tripping over the threshold on his way out the door. But we’re actually getting the history wrong. While it’s true that Shula didn’t reach a Super Bowl over his final 11 seasons, it’s also worth noting that he went 39-25 over his final four seasons, making the playoffs three times and winning a pair of postseason games. His career ended with a loss to the Bills in the 1995 AFC Wild Card game.
Belichick? He’s at 27-33 over the last four years and fading fast. If the Patriots win only once more (a distinct possibility, given their schedule), Belichick will finish 28-39 over his final four seasons with just a single blowout loss in the…